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DIGGING FOR 
LOST AFRICAN GODS 



<r Rgcord of ^we years ^Archaeological 
Sxcavation in Jtyrth 



BY 
BYRON KHUN DE PROROK, FJELG.S. 

Officier d 'Academic Officier de 1* Instruction pubhque 



With Notes and Translations by 
EDGAR FLETCHER ALLEN 



43 Illustrations 



G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 

NEW YORK AND LONDON 



1926 



Copyright 1926 

by 
Byron Khun de Prorok 




Made in the jolted States of America 



TO MY WIFE 



INTRODUCTION 

FROM the very beginning there has been a great 
charm for me in the old stones of dead civilisations, 
whether they be in the New or the Old World, and 
exploration always reached a beckoning hand 

Perhaps my friendship with Sir Ernest Shackleton 
did much to turn my mind in the direction of work 
similar to the one which ultimately seemed to be 
the task allotted to me. His personality, and the 
story of his wanderings, were inspiring, and clothed 
the skeleton of science with warm and living flesh. 
Before I had passed the quarter of a century mark, 
I had been a wanderer among the castles of the 
Rhine and the Carpathian mountains, the ruins of 
Mexico and the Everglades of Florida. I had tried 
my amateur observation in the sites of the prehis- 
toric cave-dwellers of Switzerland, the dolmens and 
megalithic remains of Cornwall and Brittany. Then 
followed the new excavations of Rome and Pompeii 
and, for the last five years, I have been digging into 
the sand and silt that has covered the ancient cit- 
ies of Africa. 

My first travels were with note-book, palette and 



INTRODUCTION 

brush, but the pick-axe has long supplanted these 
gentler tools, and now the germ of digging has laid 
hold on me, I think it will last to the end of my 
journeying. The fascination and romance of ex- 
cavation grows; archaeology is not an over-populated 
field, but there is no end in sight to the work to be 
done. North Africa, the Sahara, Syria, the moun- 
tains of Peru and the jungles of Yucatan hide lost 
empires. 

There are many problems to be solved, and youth 
is well served by the new field of science. There is 
room for all the fire and enthusiasm that go with 
early years. 

This book is an attempt to put on record in simple 
language, these efforts of the last few years, and to 
tell the tale of the real thrill of excavation under- 
taken in collaboration with great archaeologists 
and scientists, of whom I am only a pupil. 

My deep gratitude goes out to those who encour- 
aged me in my undertakings, to the venerable Pore 
Delattre, to the Abbe Chahot, both constant com- 
panions in the work, to the Abbe Moulard and M. 
Merlin, to Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn and the 
late Mitchell Carroll, and to Professor Kelsey and 
Professor Washington. Without their help I should 
have failed, and, without their scientific qualifica- 
tions, excavation would have been impossible- My 
enthusiasm in the early days would not have been 
enough, but these great men, who knew their field 
so minutely, made exploration into archaeology, and 

VI 



INTRODUCTION 

as treasure was recovered from the earth, so they 
put my feel on to the solid foundation of their great 
learning, and taught me something of the subject. 

Concerning all who helped so freely and so gen- 
erously I would say much, but I am restricted by the 
number of the pages at my disposal, and if it should 
seem that there is distinction among the great num- 
ber of people, may I say that it is not so. Every- 
where and by many people, I have been aided, some- 
times almost miraculously; always generously, and 
wholeheartedly. It is they who stood by me, cor- 
rected my faults, accepted my enthusiasm and some- 
times checked my impetuosity, who have really 
done the work that has been accomplished on the 
plains of Africa. I was fortunately the instrument 
in their hands 

I am glad of this opportunity to express my thanks 
to one whom I call "the incognito gentleman" who 
has steadfastly refused to have direct reference made 
to the great help he has given me, and with him, in 
gratitude as sincere and appreciative, to couple 
the names of many others 

When discouragement has faced me, and the 
work has been threatened, counsel and practical aid 
has come from Mr W F Kenny, from Robert 
Lansing, Professor Robinson, Professor MacLean, 
I have fallen back on them, knowing their tolerance 
of my hopes, sure of their sympathy. 

The field is so varied. I went from continent to 
continent, and everywhere there was a friend who 

vu 



INTRODUCTION 

both could and would give of his best for the sake of 
the work. 

In Africa, M. Maurice Reygasse opened the whole 
field of prehistoric man to me, and in that field and 
others gave me the benefit of his great knowledge 
At TJtica Count Chabannes la Palice gave the expe- 
dition magnificent assistance, record of which will be 
found in the chapters dealing with the work there 

At Carthage, we were greatly helped by M, Louis 
Poinssot, in addition to the members of the scien- 
tific side of the expedition, who have already been 
mentioned, and by Mgr. Lemaitre. 

In Paris there are many people who have borne 
with me, and have given me invaluable help and 
friendship. My mother and Mme. Rouvicr have 
ever been staunch friends and allies, and I should 
like to pay tribute to the cordial companionship of 
M. Stephane Gsell, M. Louis Bertrand, and a group 
who include Mr Fred Singer, M. Michel Veber, 
M. Widor, Colonel the Prince de Waldeck, and Baron 
d'Erlanger. 

Crossing the Atlantic once more, I would say 
another word of thanks to Dr. Maloney, Mr- G, P. 
Putnam and Mr. Lee Keedick, while over the bor- 
der in Canada Major Shorey, and the Hon. Charles 
Murphy have completed the chain of people who sur- 
rounded me with friendship. 

My thanks are due also, and very greatly, to Mr 
C. Streit of the New York Times and Mr. Kellcrmau 
of Pathe Freres, who did so well for the expedition in 

Vlll 



INTRODUCTION 

regard to news and pictures, which made the people 
of the United States aware of the work that was being 
done. 

In parting, let my final word be to two compan- 
ions who are now no longer with us. 

To Jules Renault, who died a martyr to the sub- 
ject, and in the place where I have tried to work, I 
owe more than I can say. It was he who placed my 
feet on the first step, who pointed me directly to the 
great opportunity, who inspired me by his own devo- 
tion and by his story of the land. Through his 
tired eyes there yet gleamed the light of vision and 
inspiration. 

And to my friend of many wanderings and many 
years, Prince Edgard de Waldeck, my thoughts 
ever return. No man had a finer companion or 
associate* What was to be done, he did, and always 
with a great charm and happiness. Whether it 
were taking the motion pictures on the very early 
days, before the world really knew what we were 
trying to do, or laughingly defying the " curse of 
Seipio/' as we dug deeper, he was always ready, the 
life of many a diversion, and the soul of good humour 
He died, not long after the strange coincidences 
connected with the curse had happened, in conse- 
quence of a motor accident on the Riviera. 

Our museum at the hill of Juno is named after 
these two men; their names deserve to be remem- 
bered so long as Carthage, either old or new, remains 

Finally, it is gratifying to be able to record that 

ix 



INTRODUCTION 

the French Government, in recognition of the value 
of the services rendered to France and French sci- 
ence, bestowed decorations on the principal scientific 
collaborators of France, the United States and Can- 
ada, who were associated with the five different 
expeditions. 

In addition it is proper to say that Professor 
Francis W. Kelsey, of the University of Michigan, 
was elected Corresponding Member of the Academic 
des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, the highest scien- 
tific recognition France can give. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTION v 

C HAPTKfc 

I CARTHAGE FINDING JULES RENAULT 3 

II CARTHAGE THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 13 

III ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 38 

IV TIIR METHOD OF EXCAVATION 56 

V PERK DKLATTRE 75 

VI CARTHAGE THE SANCTUARY OP TANIT 87 

VII CARTHAGE. THE HILL ov JUNO 106 

VIII THB HOME OF THE EXPEDITION 130 

IX THE DEAD CITIES 139 

X. GIGTHIH 168 

XI DJKRIJA AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 174 

XII Tiura CITY UNDER THE SEA AND THE SUNKEN 

GALLEY 202 

XIII PREHISTORIC MANT IN AFRICA 222 

XIV THE CHOTTB . 247 

XI 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGL 

XV THE GOLDEN CITIES 250 

XVI UTICA EXCAVATION or THE PARENT CITY 281 

XVII THE KILNS or UTICA AND ROMAN VILLAS 30 1 

XVIII I THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 317 

II PREHISTORIC MAN IN THE DESERT 331 

XIX THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 31.7 



XII 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING 
PAGE 



Carthage View of the Villa d'Amilcar Headquarters 
of the staff . Frontispiece 

Carthage The Cislern on the Hill of Juno where I 

found Jules Renault 8 

Advertising 2,000 years ago "Please buy our lamps, 

the cheapest in Carthage only one eent f " 16 

Carlhage View from Byrsa with harbours, and Bou 

Korncm in the distance & 

Carthage The great tanks near the Basilica of St 

Cyprian 34 

A group in the Sanctuary of Tanit Left to right 
Count de Prorok, Pcre Huguenot, Professor Wash- 
ington, Abl>6 Chubot, Professor Kelsey, Pre De- 
lattre 40 

General View of Area of Tanit 56 

At top Vault of the Banctuary of Tanit Left Stele 
with ornament and inscription. Right Stele with 
bas-reliefs 68 

Urns at Taml 88 

Many of theao illustrations are from photographs by Mr George R Swain, 
photographer to the Near East Research of the University of Michigan The 
University's permission to use them is gratefully acknowledged 

Kill 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Documentation at Tanit Professor Washington and 

Count de Prorok 08 

Section of a mosaic floor in the Hill of Juno at Carthage 110 

Babies' milk bottles Found in Punic Tombs at Utiea 
and Carthage K7 

Thurburbo Majus Peristyle with columns and mosaic 
floor 1 1 t 

Native type 1 18 

The Amphitheatre at El Djem The third gallery, with 

figures to show proportions 15(1 

Jewish Synagogue, Hara Snra, Djerba This is sup- 
posed to be the oldest Talmud in Africa, and is one 
of the sacred spots of pilgrimage in the isle of Djerbu 1S 1 2 

Count de Prorok preparing to dive it Djerba 100 

Diver at Djerba, with Amphores 1 208 

Greek vase, 100 B c , recovered from a sunken galley ut 

Mahdia 21 1 

Bronze statues recovered from a sunken galley off Mahdia 20 

View of Bordj, Matmata, from Troglodyte dwelling 
The savage land of prehistoric man taken from I lie 
interior of a cave . , 

A whole city underground Matmata in the south of 
Tunisia 

Medenine The city made of mud bricks 

The gateway to the desert. Gorges of Seldja 242 

Medicine Man at Matmata , . 

XIV 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING 
PAGE 



Toxeur A typical view of oasis . 

The Creeping Dunes 252 

Neftx On the road to the land of gold and sand and 

ruin 254 

Tunisia ** Whose history is lost in the twilight of the 
ages." The gate of Antonin, leading to the three 

temples 256 

Timgad The ruts made by ehariots m the stone pave- 
ments 260 

Subterranean palace of Bulla Kegia 266 

Dougga View from Rear of Cella 272 

Dougga Capitoleum, front view 276 

The Libyo-Pumc mausoleum at Dougga 278 

TJtiea Past and Present . 280 

Abbe Moulard with objects found in tombs at Utica . 290 

Roman Villa at Utica Count de Prorok and Professor 

Washington 300 

Frescoes and mosaic found in Roman Villa at Utica 

Count de Prorok and Professor Washington . 310 

Sand-bound cars in the desert , 324 

Amcnokal Akhamouk, King of all the Iloggar . 341 

Tea at Tamanrasset with Tuaregb .... 348 

Specimens from the tomb of Tin Hinan . 362 

Hoggar Expedition Native type ... 366 

xv 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

CHAPTER I 

CARTHAGE FINDING JULES RENAULT 

CARTHAGE represents the buried site of a once 
great and flourishing city, whose actual foundation 
is lost in time, but of which we know at least that 
it reached a population of nearly a million people. 
In the earth are relics of all the civilisations that 
have flowed across the isthmus; from the Berbers, 
and possibly the Egyptians, down to the Barbary 
Pirates. 

Mingled with their bones are the ashes of lost 
empires* 

There is no more challenging field for archaeolo- 
gists and explorers than this area of North Africa 
Tt is> a land full of romance and tradition, whose soil 
covers the remains of beauty, wealth and merciless- 
ness. The work of great sculptors lies buried deep, 
and the bones of little children, sacrificed to Tanit, 
are as plenteous as straw on the threshing floor. 

Archaeology need not be nearly so dry as it sounds 

3 



DIGGING FOE LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Actually it is full of romantic interest The men 
who work in distant fields, uncovering ancient civil- 
isations, are the men who are literally digging up 
history, filling in vacant dates, establishing known 
facts and as ruthlessly demolishing other theories 
There is little argument against the stones of old 
civilisations- 
Interest is varied, in this Cinderella of the sci- 
ences, as varied as the colouring of Africa, where 
sunset and sunrise are sufficient in themselves to 
arouse enthusiasm even in weary men who have 
been delving into the earth all day, and have re- 
membered at evening that there are twenty years, 
and twenty years again, of work to be done before 
all the excavations are finished in the complete re- 
discovery of Carthage. 

The re-discovery? It would be better, perhaps, 
to say the re-discoveries, for in the earth on the 
peninsula that is almost an island, there are many 
cities and many civilisations. 

To be as simple as possible, when speaking of 
excavation and exploration, let us dismiss the story 
of these civilisations for a while with a word. 

The silted earth of Carthage contains the relics 
of a dozen different civilisations, each definitely 
marked, and capable of identification. 

To be in Carthage is to become an explorer. To 
stay for a while is to be inspired to stay for the 
remainder of one's life. To sit, as I sat one day, 
high on the steps of the ruined theatre, looking out 

4 



CARTHAGE FINDING JULES RENAULT 

to sea, across the narrow stretch of land that inter- 
venes, is to realise that the center and soul of Africa's 
charm and beauty is there, which Tanit ruled and 
Scipio cursed, 

I sat there, staring over the broken stage of the 
theatre, trying, as I always do, to reconstruct the 
scene as well as the buildings, wondering what man- 
ner of men trod the floor to entertain the million- 
aires of Carthage, wondering if the urge of natural 
beauty had interrupted their drama as repeatedly as 
it interrupted my thoughts. 

It was towards evening. I carried under my arm 
Audollent's Carthage Romaine, a book that did much 
to send me on my way to Africa, but reading came 
hard. Over the sky spread colour in all shades from 
faintest lavender to richest purple. The sky and sea 
threw colour to each other. They were one, welded 
together in glory that is still too magnificent for 
description. Over all the land spread a quivering 
rose-tinted glow that was a thing in itself. It was 
detached, much as a gauze curtain might be, used 
on, any stage other than the one that stretched 
before me. The stones took on life, became molten 
as the light reached round, and almost into them. 

I sat there much longer than I realised. In the 
first place I was a little tired It had been a day of 
exploration along Cap Gamart, and rest was wel- 
come. 

Across the inner curve of the Gulf of Tunis, Bou- 
Kornein reared his sacred head to the sunset, catch- 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

ing the changing lights, and adding them lo the 
opalescent wealth of the waters of the gulf 

Almost daily there is the same magnificence of the 
sky, a grandeur that grows neither stale nor familiar, 
but that one evening has its own hold on my mem- 
ory, not untouched by tragedy and adventure, a hold 
that crystallises at least for me the ultima le romance 
and value of the work of exploration and the resto- 
ration of lost civilisations 

Across the bay, the fishing fleets in regular older 
and unhurried, were returning to port, and it was 
not a difficult stretch of the imagination to believe 
that they were the Vandal fleet of Genseric returning 
from Rome. Sixteen centuries can fade as quickly 
as the sunset in Carthage, and the fishing boats 
were little different, either in size or form, from the 
terrors of the seas that sailed into Carthage about 
300 A D. 

Byron, who has interpreted the spirit of the Med- 
iterranean better than anyone else, caught the mean- 
ing of such an hour: 

Ave Maria f Blessed be the hour 
The Tune, the clime, the spot, where I so oft 
Have felt that moment in its fullest power 
Sink o'er the earth so beautiful and soft 
While swung the deep bell in the distant tower 
Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft 
And not a breath crept through the rosy air, 
And yet the olive leaves seem'd stirred with prayer, 

6 



CARTHAGE- FINDING JULES RENAULT 

That hour is specially impressive when one sits 
alone m a massive ruin of the city of the dead, sur- 
sounded by the wondrous basilicas of the days of 
Augustine and Cyprian, now partially restored. 

Opposite where I sat is Cardinal Lavigerie's great 
cathedral to Saint Louis, whose bells throbbed 
without effort through the air. Everything con- 
spired to keep me there. Certainly I had no desire 
to move, until my eyes were suddenly focussed, and 
out of reverie I came to attention A wisp of smoke 
was rising from a mass of ruins on the opposite hill 

"Some Arab," I thought, "making his home in an 
old cistern," as they often do. 

It refused to be dismissed so easily. The smoke 
perplexed me, and I was ultimately compelled to 
follow it. I climbed down the ruined steps, and 
made my way across, to examine the cave of the 
fire 

There, a strange spectacle greeted me. An old 
Roman cistern had been fitted out as a living room. 
It was poorly furnished, and not particularly com- 
fortable. It is, by the way, now the museum of our 
expedition, where many people hear the story of the 
work and find what literature they need. 

An oil lamp gave a slender light, which fell on to 
a bearded old man who lay on a camp-bed, reading. 
Around the walls were packing cases which served 
as shelves to carry ancient books and maps. An 
Arab servant stood by, arranging pot sherds on a 
sheet of paste-board near the old man's bed. 

7 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Obviously the man was ill. The least practised 
eye could read the pallor on his face, while the fitful 
light emphasised the transparency of his skin. A 
light that was certainly not earthly shone through 
him. Death, I judged, could not be far away, yet 
even in the face of the tragedy of it all, the weird 
significance of the scene spoke more than aught else 
of the inexorable power of the lure of Carthage. 
These two silent men, one very close to the great 
silence, were working away in a transformed Roman 
cistern, cataloguing relics of the dead city. 

The cave was only partly restored. Pick-axes and 
trolley rails were piled around the walls, and water 
was oozing through, trickling down behind the sick 
man's bed. 

Perhaps I was diffident, or probably it was the 
strangeness of the scene, for it was a moment before I 
could address the man who had made his home in a 
ruin of Carthage. 

"You are welcome to my Roman cistern/' he said, 
with a faint smile. "Visitors are rare here.'* 

The Arab brought me a chair, and I sat by the 
bed of the dying man. There was no question 
about his condition. His eyes burned with fever, 
and his cheeks were pale and hollow. 

He had a smile for me, however, and noticed the 
book I had laid down. 

"You must be interested in these old stones," he 
said, "if you are wading through those eight hundred 
pages." 

8 



CARTHAGE: FINDING JULES RENAULT 

Then he was silent a while. A light other than 
fever burned in his eyes. 

"For fifteen years," he continued, "I have been 
digging in this land." 

It seemed to me that he had not flourished greatly 
in those fifteen years 

"You are an archaeologist?" I ventured. 

"Yes," he replied. "Once an operatic star, but 
now I am writing a little about the great field of 
Carthaginian history and archaeology. I have pub- 
lished several books . . assisted by the French 
Government 1 " 

For hours we talked of the excavations, and that 
night I fell asleep wondering at the strange encoun- 
ter. 

Early the next morning, I was back again at the 
ruin, to hear the continuation of the experiences of 
my new friend. 

I stayed by the sick man for days, and we resolved, 
when he should be better, to join forces in attempt- 
ing to excavate Carthage. Unfortunately he did 
not realise how dangerous was his condition, and 
all my efforts failed to persuade him to leave the 
unhealthy cistern. A strange, almost fanatical devo- 
tion possessed him. 

"You have put new life into me," he said, in a 
burst of enthusiasm. "We shall do great things 
together " 

His knowledge of Carthage was amazing, and 
coupled with the specialised knowledge of the par- 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

ticular spot, was his long experience of North Afri- 
can exploration How great a man this was, whom 
I had discovered living under impossible conditions 
for the sake of the work to which he had devoted 
himself, most people will know when I say that 
that is how I discovered Jules Renault, who 
truly laid the foundations of much of the success 
that has attended later efforts in this field 

Jules Renault had few, and poor, helpers. He 
dreamed, as we all did, of a skilled body of men, 
excavating under expert direction. That dream 
was realised, but not in his lifetime. 

During the few weeks I spent with him of that 
winter, he influenced me to take up the work of 
excavation, and, being able to pull him round in 
health a little, we began with his home m the ruins. 

Renault was in receipt of a small grant from the 
"Services des Antiquites," which barely met his 
expenses I soon learned that the man was starv- 
ing himself, was martyring himself in the cause of 
Archaeology So, together, we decided that I 
should return to France and try to raise funds for 
the excavation of Carthage, and, with the assistance 
of the Pere Delattre, try to locate the Punic (or 
Phoenician) city 

It was not to be Just before I was due to leave, 
my companion and friend had a severe relapse, 
The damp chill of his habitation crept into his 
starved body The hand of death could not long 
be stayed He was brought to realise his extremity, 

10 



CARTHAGE FINDING JULES RENAULT 

and almost he was persuaded to let me take him to 
more comfortable surroundings, and to proper care 
When I thought he was consenting, he turned to me 
with the smile that was at times heart-breaking, so 
wan and yet so courageous 

"It's no good," he said. "The 'Curse of Scipio' 
has got me I am going to follow Borgia, Falbe and 
the others who have tried to explore these haunted 
rums, and died in the attempt " 

Often previously, in a half -joking way, he had 
told me of old Scipio's curse, but I was to learn later, 
much to my sorrow, that this local superstition cer- 
tainly claimed strange coincidences in my experi- 
ence in Carthage 

When at last I had to leave for home, I could not 
help feeling that I should see Jules Renault no more 
on earth. 

" Goodbye, and good luck," he said "You have a 
great task before you, and perhaps I shall recover 
enough to help you again when you get back. There 
are great treasures at Carthage yet to be uncov- 
ered. Courage, and patience, and you will make 
these old stones speak again/' 

His harsh cough echoed in the damp vault, and his 
camp bed rattled. It cut deeply into me to leave 
him there I had learned to admire him so greatly, 
but I had arranged for him to be moved in a few 
days, despite his protests. My fear was that the 
removal had been too long delayed. 

The sun was sinking as I left him It was just 

11 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

such another spectacle as when I had first seen the 
smoke from his hermitage climbing up to the purple 
skies, the smoke that had caught my attention, and 
had introduced me to a friend, and also to a work 
that needed to be done. 

My last glimpse of him was through a ruined 
vault His drawing materials were in his hand, but 
his head had fallen forward in sheer exhaustion, 
following the effort of saying farewell. He was 
asleep. 

Kilari, the old Arab, was tending the fire in the 
garden, cooking the evening meal. 

As I looked back on the ruin, I saw the thin trail 
of smoke rising again above the grey stones, dimly 
visible against the twilight sky. The bells of the 
Cathedral were tolling, but at that moment they 
seemed full of foreboding. 



A week later, I heard that Jules Renault had 
died. He had died in harness, among his books and 
relics, a true martyr to science if ever there was one. 



CHAPTER II 

CAKTHAGE: THE FIELD TO BE EXPLOKED 

WITH the passing of Jules Renault I had lost a 
friend, but his enthusiasm remained with me Life, 
more or less, is like that. An avenue opens, which 
we hope to tread in company. The companion is 
taken away, but the avenue remains. What I hoped 
to do with Renault, had to be done, for his sake, and 
for the sake of the great mine of hidden civilisation 
that is Carthage to-day. Of the certainty of the 
work, no doubt remained. The germ that held 
Renault had attacked me, just as violently. Until 
the excavations were finished, or I was finished, 
Carthage was my master. 

Therefore, since it is of but little service for one 
man to dig alone, it was essential that a strong 
organisation, properly financed, should be gath- 
ered together, an organisation which should have 
the benefit of the best brains in the various schools 
of learning which Archaeology covers. 

No one man can contain all the information. 
Not even Leibniz could have comprehended all the 

13 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

* 

sciences, the intricacies of all the languages and civil- 
isations that are to be met in the lichest natural 
museum on the face of the earth. 

That is exactly how to describe Carthage, ll is 
a natural museum, uncharted and uncatalogued I Is 
treasures are so thick in the earth that not even a 
spadeful of dust can be thrown away without dan- 
ger of losing some priceless fragment that may open 
up a new field of investigation,, resolve doubts, or 
fill in blanks in the historical sequence of man's 
journeys on the earth. 

In Carthage, if it rains (and it can rain), it is 
quite probable that the flood will wash off the accu- 
mulation of centuries from a wonderful mosaic* or 
tiled floor, right in the middle of the street. It 
has happened before to-day, and it will happen 
again. 

After any rain you may walk across the earth and 
find handfuls of blobs of iridescent glass, thousands 
of years old, relics of the ancient glass factories. 
They glisten and gleam on the top of the soil, and the 
Arabs have called them the "tears of Cartilage/* 

Their legend-loving minds have woven these bits 
of glass into romance. To them they arc nothing 
less than the tears of the Carthaginians, crystallised 
and preserved, tears that were shed over the ruin of 
the wonderful city, now shining again at the feet of 
prosaic men who are trying to reconstruct the glory 
that was Carthage 

The earth of the isthmus is so rich that one is 

14 



CARTHAGE THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

driven to haste, ordered haste, always feeling the 
urge of some stupendous discovery close at hand 
Who knows? 

It is enough for the seeker after thrills to remember 
that the Vandals' loot from the pillage of Home, was 
carried to Carthage, was buried there, and has never 
yet been discovered. 

Civilisation in those days was a procession of 
looters, and Carthage received and paid the tribute 
common to all wealthy centers. Captain Kidd and 
all the famous pirates who roamed the seas, were 
tyros, effete, inartistic, and ineffectual in comparison. 

Four hundred Vandal ships sailed back to Car- 
thage from the sack of Rome. 

Whether that treasure lies at our feet out there 
or not, treasure even more important is being dis- 
covered day by day Literally, one cannot kick 
the wall of a shallow pit without bringing a "mus- 
eum piece" to light And that piece may belong to 
any one of a dozen civilisations 

It may, most fascinating of all, to me, belong to 
the Phoenicians, or it may belong to the early Chris- 
tian time, or to the Vandals, or even to the ninth cru- 
sade. It may carry a cuneiform inscription, or 
it may be a lamp inscribed with the maker's name, 
and his pleading advertisement. 

They advertised in the Roman period We dis- 
covered a lamp which carries, so far as I know, 
the earliest recorded advertisement Translated it 
reads: 

15 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

PLEASE BUY OUR LAMPS, ONLY ONE CENT 
THEY ARE THE BEST 

and it carried the maker's name and address. 

Much of the history of the isthmus could, indeed, 
be written from the lamps. In the museum on the 
spot, with a little explanation here and there, the 
casual visitor can get a very sound understanding of 
the progress of affairs. There are the crude lamps of 
the early Phoenicians, which later were greatly 
improved, and there are the lamps of all those who 
succeeded them, gradually becoming more notable 
for their workmanship. 

In the silted earth of the hollows, we estimate 
that one yard represents one hundred years. We 
can dig through the various strata, and go from 
one period to another, and each period demands 
specialised knowledge. 

Even the "unskilled" departments of excavation 
are intricate. 

To recover the specimens which give the archaeol- 
ogist the material for his reconstruction of the hab- 
its, homes, and public life of the period, modern 
mechanical science in all its branches has to be in- 
voked. Any department of the practical sciences 
that contributes to the welfare of a modern city is 
equally necessary for the restoration of the ancient. 

This had been borne in upon me by the sight of 
Jules Renault trying to pierce the secrets single- 
handed. 

16 




Advertising 2,000 years ago "Please buy our 
lamps, the cheapest in Carthage only one 
rwf!" 



CARTHAGE: THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

If the work were going to be done at all, it needed 
to be done systematically, and without hindrance. 

To do it well needed money, and to obtain money, 
public interest had first to be aroused. That I 
took to be my immediate task in the whole scheme. 

Yet so little was known about Carthage. Pere 
Delattre had himself been struggling to restore the 
ruins of the early Christian period, and had done 
much more, single-handed, than any man might 
reasonably have been called upon to do, especially 
when it is known that Pere Delattre is a priest, liv- 
ing in the monastery of the White Fathers, and has 
no outside funds to draw upon. 

It is true, of course, that thelnstitutdes Antiquites 
makes Pere Delattre a grant of 1,500 francs a year 
for his work, to be expended in excavation. Put- 
ting that into terms that can really be understood, 
the money at his disposal amounts to twenty cents 
a day* But somehow the miracles have happened 
The Basilica of St Cyprian, Damous El-Karita, and 
the famous " Victory/ 5 which was re-assembled from 
more than 250 fragments, were saved to posterity, 
among thousands of other important discoveries, 
by the savant who has a dollar a week grant for 
the purpose. 

Money buys services in geometric proportion in 
Africa. You can get so far with a hundred dollars' 
but a thousand dollars represents vastly more than 
ten times the value of the hundred, in work accom- 
plished. And I believed that, if the world could 

17 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

know more about Carthage and its possibilities, 
interest and funds would be forthcoming 

My problem was how to make it known, and what 
to make known. Just to say "Carthage" meant so 
much that it would mean nothing. Carthage looks 
like earth. It is principally remembered for its 
destruction. . . "Delenda est Carthago/' but 
that was only one Carthage. 

Carthage is not earth. It is human earth. To 
appropriate the famous bon mot of a gruff English 
politician, who was discussing the river Thames with 
a visitor from another country who knew of bigger 
rivers, is to sum up the situation. As the Labour 
Member of Parliament said, "The Thames isn't 
water, it's liquid 'istory " Just so, every inch deep 
is solid history on the isthmus. 

The date of the first foundation of Carthage is 
lost. History and legend combine to give an ap- 
proximate date of the middle of the ninth century 
B c But as yet there is no certainty. Our present 
work may ultimately decide that point, as well as 
many others. 

Legend and poetry have credited Queen Dido witli 
the foundation of the city. It can do little harm, 
making due reservations, to leave it at that for the 
moment. 

Certain it is that the city rapidly assumed consid- 
erable importance in the economy of the civilised 
world Historians rank it fourth The first settle- 
ment on the peninsula of Carthage actually known 

18 



CARTHAGE THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

is Cambe, which probably served as a Phoenician 
trading station centuries before the arrival of Queen 
Dido 

Thirty miles north of Carthage is Utica, which, by 
general consent is conceded to have been founded, 
about 1200 B c by the Phoenicians, who, we know, 
were building trading stations along all the coasts 
of the Mediterranean. 

To Dido, however, romance brings us again. By 
virtue of the eternal epic, Virgil has kept the story 
of the love-sick Queen and Aeneas, fresh. Its charm 
has persisted for enough centuries to establish Car- 
thage in our imagination, if not the date of its foun- 
dation in our accredited histories. And a rightly or 
wrongly, the story of the land enclosed by the bull's 
hide, will persist as long as Carthage, even Carthage 
restored 

Utica was the older settlement, and the Tyrian 
colonists named the trading station "Kart-Hadach," 
the New City. The Punic name has remained 
through its many mutations 

As a trading station, Carthage prospered. Its 
people were merchant adventurers, with the keen 
commercial sense peculiar to their Semitic origin. 
Not warlike for the sake of warfare, economic rea- 
sons alone compelled the Carthaginians to expand 
their territory. They subjugated first the Berbers, 
of the interior, who intermingled with their con- 
querors, and formed the people called the Libyo- 
phoenicians. In approximately two hundred years 

19 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

from its foundation, the people of Carthage gov- 
erned Africa from the Pillars of Hercules to Hier- 
opolis. 

So much in two hundred years! There are 
twenty-five hundred years to dig out! And each 
foot of earth reveals how similar the old Cartha- 
ginians were to modern commercial nations. They 
remind me very much of the English, with a strong 
dash of North America. Carthage, like England, 
was only a dot on the world map, but somehow man- 
aged to rule the destinies of mankind for a long 
time, and she did it in much the same way that has 
characterised what might be called the "English 
period'* . . by colonisation, ships and trade. 
Her citizens were shop-keepers, meek in their ways, 
and, true to the promise, the meek inherited the 
earth! until the Prussians of antiquity came along 
with the same need of expansion, and the Romans 
smote Phoenicia m envy! 

Undoubtedly the Carthaginians had the proto- 
type of Greeley, and their sons were advised to 
"Go West, young man!" At least we can discover 
that they traded with the Canaries, the West Coast 
of Africa, the coasts of England, and probably the 
Baltic, too. 

Carthage was in turn the London and the New 
York of the old world, and, for the sake of under- 
standing, imagine what discoveries future archaeol- 
ogists might make if either London or New York 
had been subjected to successive holocausts and 

20 



CARTHAGE- THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

repeated destruction, each period being safely stowed 
away under a little earth while the new civilisation 
reared itself proudly, and forgetfully, on the ruins 
of the old 

Carthage was fabulously rich, the richest city of 
the old world. Income tax returns, unfortunately, 
were not apparently published, but Flaubert gives 
what has proven to be a historically accurate descrip- 
tion of the parade of wealth among the Carthagin- 
ians in his Salammbo. Such a display would dis- 
count Fifth Avenue, or even Hollywood's efforts to 
show how wealthy wealth should be. 

Little evidence has yet come to light concerning the 
lot of the poorer classes in Carthage. There can be 
shrewd guesses, however. The Magons, Barcas and 
Hannos of Carthage (people whose identity is 
established by inscriptions found recently), lived 
at the expense of many a tormented slave, working 
to death under lash and torture in the mines of 
Spain and Numidia. 

I said the Carthaginians were not fond of war for 
war's sake, but they were clever enough to make a 
business of war, and to deal with it as they dealt 
with most other things. They hired professional 
fighters to carry on their campaigns while they con- 
tinued to amass the spoils of trade. Mercenaries, 
among whom were the Numidian horse and the 
Balearic slingers, made Carthage feared and fam- 
ous. The outer world hated the Carthaginians, and 
distrusted them. The creed of a rogue was "fides 

21 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Punica"; Punic faith, and their contracts too, were 
often "scraps of paper." 

Their cruelty was as thoroughgoing as their com- 
merce. For three years, we unearthed an average 
of 2,000 human sacrifices a year in the Temple of 
Tanit 

The tombs at Carthage and Utica demonstrate 
their wealth, their cunning and adroitness, their 
brains and their vanity, and the Temple of Tanit, 
their cruelty and vice* The ruined cities of the 
Mediterranean tell of the vastness of their commer- 
cial enterprise and business capabilities, and, for- 
tunately, on the right side of the balance sheet 
this time, we know that Carthage produced two 
of the greatest heroes of all time, Hannibal and 
Hamilcar. 

Yet these people invented business, as it is under- 
stood to-day It is now beyond doubt that they 
were the first real explorers, the first to organise over- 
seas trade, and they were the first bankers. They 
invented contracts and bills of exchange. Probably 
they had a stock market, or clearing house! Car- 
thage issued leather money of representative value, 
which was currency through her dependencies, 
anticipating modern economists in the matter of 
paper money. 

The shipbuilding firms of Utica made contracts 
covering their work. Probably before excavation 
goes much further; some other trade convenience, 
which appears to us of extremely modem origin, 



CARTHAGE: THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

will prove to have been in vogue among the Phoe- 
nicians 

How long they have had a coinage, I do not 
know Coins have been found buried with the 
dead, but, strangely enough (or not so strangely, 
whichever point of view one takes), the coins are 
always out of date. It really seems as though the 
Carthaginians hated to lose good money, and it is 
held on quite tenable grounds that the reason we 
discover this out-of-date coinage in the tombs is that 
the friends of the family took away the currency and 
put in its place valueless tokens. This idea may 
be heresy, originating with the envious Romans, 
who joked at the Carthaginians, as we do, more 
pleasantly, with the Scots 

Much of our historical information concerning the 
Carthaginians comes through the Romans, and 
their point of view was undoubtedly distorted and 
coloured by prejudice Anti-Hannibal propaganda 
could not have been bettered (or worsened) by the 
most vituperative of the scaremonger press 

Most schoolboys remember the story of the great 
general in exile, who wanted to escape with his treas- 
ure, and did it by a trick, filling his treasure jars 
with lead, and sticking a layer of cold coins on the 
top, which he left behind! That is a Roman 

joke 

To begin to talk about Carthage is to jump ahead 
There is always a link between one layer and the 
next, but there it is; the dust of Carthage is so thick 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

with history that one takes a handful, and it is mixed 

After such a digression, let us pick up the thread 
again. 

Boundary friction how familiar it sounds 

from Africa! brought Carthage into a 

struggle with Greece in the sixth century B c. It 
arose between the two settlements at Gyrene, and 
it came to real issue at a time fortunate for Car- 
thage. Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Tyre, which 
gave Carthage a fairly free, and little-disputed, com- 
mand of the Mediterranean. In 550 B c the Car- 
thaginian troops under Malchus invaded Sicily, 
and conquered most of it, driving out the Greeks. 

But Malchus had not been entirely successful, 
which displeased his government, and he was re- 
called. Being the son of his time, he, m revenge, 
laid siege to Carthage itself, and m this attempt 
rather bettered his percentage, for he became mas- 
ter of the city. 

The quickest and most popular road to power in 
that period was assassination. Malchus suffered, 
and was gathered to his fathers. He was put to 
death by his own party, and succeeded by Mago, 
the son of Hanno, who later completed Malchus* 
efforts, and added Sardinia and the Balearic Islands 
to the territory of the Carthaginians, forcing com- 
mercial treaties with the Greeks of Sicily and Italy* 

Shortly thereafter, by agreement, Rome and 
Carthage created a buffer state of Sicily. In 509 
B.C. in the time of Polybms, Italy was assigned to 



CARTHAGE. THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

the Romans, and the African waters were allotted 
to Carthage. Sicily was neutral ground. 

The Greeks, however, brought no lasting gifts to 
the Carthaginians 1 In 480 B.C. was fought the 
battle of Himera, and it was a sorry day for Car- 
thage, whose general was Hamilcar, grandson of 
Mago. Report says that 150,000 Carthaginians 
were captured And then followed a period of peace. 
War ceased for seventy years, but when it broke out 
again, between the same peoples, the mighty cities 
of Selinnus, Himera, and Arigentum, with their 
magnificent temples and innumerable works of art 
were destroyed. 

All this, of course* makes work for the archaeolo- 
gists. Diodorus says that the marks of the Car- 
thaginian crowbars could be discerned on the gigan- 
tic columns of the Temple of Selinnus columns it 
was believed that only an earthquake could shake. 
But the Carthaginians were closely akin to the 
earthquake 1 

For revenge, the Greeks rallied under the tyrant 
Dionysius, and the Carthaginian colonists in Sicily 
were massacred War succeeded war, with suc- 
cess now on one side, now on the other. Sicily, 
the cockpit of the ancient world, soaked in blood, 
saw Hamilcar, Timoleon and Agathocles. 

Agathocles penetrated Africa, and Carthage 
trembled, for though he was not finally successful, 
he showed the way for a greater and more ruthless 
warrior, whose people were not slow to follow in the 

25 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

footsteps of the unsuccessful Greeks, this time to 
succeed, where Agathocles had failed. 

Pyrrhus, the last Greek hero to quit the arena, 
with his last breath cried, half in shame and half m 
envy "How fair a battlefield we leave for the Ro- 
mans and the Carthaginians " 

War with Rome commenced in 268 B c and con- 
tinued for more than a quarter of a century, gener- 
ally in favour of the Carthaginians 

During the second Punic War, Hamilcar, accom- 
panied by iiis nine-year-old son, Hannibal (who had 
already sworn eternal hatred to the Romans), hav- 
ing first subdued the rebellious tribes along the 
African coast, crossed to Spain. After many vic- 
tories he founded Carthagena, which became the 
emporium of Carthage in Spain. He died glori- 
ously in one of the local battles, and was succeeded 
by his son-in-law, Hasdrubal, who was governor of 
Spain for nine years, but was ultimately murdered 
by a Gallic slave. 

Hannibal was leading the army at twenty-four 
years of age, having already given proof of his 
prowess. He re-organised and strengthened his 
armies in Africa and in Spain, and struck at the heart 
of the power of the Romans. His armies were small, 
comparatively, not many more than a hundred thou- 
sand in all, of whom ninety thousand were infantry, 
and twelve thousand cavalry. He had, in addition, 
some forty elephants. But he crossed the Pyrenees, 
the Rhone and the Alps, and in face of tremendous 

26 



CARTHAGE THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

difficulties, reached the plains of Italy, with half 
his army in commission, opposed by Roman forces 
that outnumbered him four to one His blows, and 
his victories, were swift The Romans were wiped out 
at the battles of Cannae, Allia and Lake Trasimene 

But while Hannibal was fighting in Italy, Scipio 
had crossed to Africa, and laid siege to TJtica, anni- 
hilating the forces of Hasdrubal and Syphax, near 
Testour. 

Then Hannibal was recalled, after sixteen years of 
the most brilliant fighting in history. He landed at 
Hadrumetum (Sousse) in 203 B c and was defeated 
at the great battle of Zama. The Romans forced 
their terms on Carthage, which meant ceding Spain, 
Sicily, and the islands of the Mediterranean The 
great Empire was at an end. 

The Empire was at an end, but the Carthaginians 
were not, neither was their city Foreign affairs 
had gone against them, but trade still remained, 
trade and wealth sufficient to withstand even the 
strain of Roman extortion Hannibal confined his 
attention to local reform, to the establishment of 
internal peace, law and order. Agriculture was 
revived, and finances were reorganised. 

Mindful of his vow, Hannibal maintained his 
hatred of the Romans to the end. When things had 
progressed to a degree at home, he sought foreign 
alliances, of which the Romans heard, and Hannibal 
died by his own hand. 

For fifty years there was peace, but Cato the elder 

27 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

instigated a campaign of hatred, whose final policy 
was the utter extermination of Carthage. The 
campaign culminated in 146 B c. when the siege of 
the city, planned and executed by Scipio JjJmihanus, 
wore down the heroic defence, and Carthage fell. 

Carthage was wiped out With deliberate cun- 
ning the Romans fired the city. It burned for six- 
teen days, and the buildings, temples and palaces 
of a great city and a great civilisation, were left in 
ruin, soon to be covered and lost. 

There are men working among the ruins to-day, 
hoping that some of the priceless antiquities may 
still remain. 

It would be a miracle, almost, if our pick axes, 
digging up history, could hit on the lost library of 
Carthage! 

We know, at least, that the Roman Senate gave 
the libraries to their Numidian allies after the cap- 
ture of the city in 146 B a, and a hundred years later 
Sallust saw the priceless books in the hands of King 
Hiempsal. He adds, rather dubiously, "I say no- 
thing about Carthage, for I think it better to say 
nothing about her than to say too little " 

But how invaluable even that little would have 
been to us diggers. 

One work escaped, witness in itself to the mag- 
nitude and scope of the great library. It was Mago\s 
treatise in twenty-eight volumes, on Agriculture. 
Mago was a Carthaginian Shofete, or Judge, and in 
these twenty-eight volumes laid the actual founda- 



CARTHAGE THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

tion of husbandry as a science They were trans- 
lated, by Cassius Dionysius of TJtica, into Greek, and 
later by command of the Roman Senate into Latin 
by D Silanus. (Colwnella, L 1. 13 ) 

The world will be richer by much more than the 
mass of the Vandals' loot, if we can discover more 
of the commercial treatises of Carthage. Science 
if ever it can be excited would find sufficient 
excitement for a generation if only. . If only! 
si 7tS)tf And that is the urge behind archaeology, 
that is the germ which reached me through Jules 
Renault, through Pere Delattre. To tell something 
of the known facts of Carthage, to show what had 
been done, to fire the imagination of the people who 
could do much more with the hint of all the bur- 
ied records that would add to our knowledge, and 
perhaps to the charm of life 

Perhaps we shall find the lost literature of this 
great people, some day, in the ruins of the different 
capitals of the Numidian kings, at Cirta, Bulla- 
Regia, or Khamissa. There are sacred books bur- 
ied in the temple of Tanit, at Carthage. 

One famous example of the literary possibilities 
of the lost library is the Periplus of Scylax, the 
world's first great history of exploration. It deals 
with an expedition led by Hanno with a two-fold 
object exploration and colonisation. Thirty thou- 
sand settlers were deposited on the way west, to 
start colonies. 

Hanno was a Carthaginian admiral, and in him- 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

self an example to those naval officers whose per- 
sonal bent has been adventurous exploration lie 
was the Columbus of Carthage 

The fleet at his disposal on his venture, comprised 
sixty vessels of fifty oars each, and his voyage was 
long and significant. The records of his expedition 
were hung at the temple of Melkart at Carthage, 
as a thank-offering. 

A Greek "reporter/ 3 a Herodotus of the day, Look 
down an account of the proceedings, and his report 
has become world famous. From him we know 
that Hanno passed the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltai ) 
and reached the isle of Cerne, 10 degrees nor Hi of 
the Equator. This may be the site of Arquin, 
since the crews calculated that the Pillars of Ilor- 
cules represented the half-way line of their journey 
from Carthage. 

Here, Hanno impressed interpreters, and passed 
the Senegal river full of crocodiles and hippopotami. 
For the first time they saw tropical negroes, and 
heard them playing at night with cymbals and 
drums, and shouting and singing, much as they do 
to-day. It is within the bounds of possibility that 
even "jazz" was a Punic discovery, twenty-five 
centuries ago f 

The fleet continued, past the volcano of the Cam- 
eroons to the land of "hair covered men " Tt was 
not an anthropological expedition that discovered 
the "men" that were first called "gorillas" by the 
Carthaginians 

30 



CARTHAGE THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

Like Will Beebe, they captured a few specimens, 
and their skins ultimately were placed on exhibition 
in their home town. 

The word "gorilla" was not heard again for many 
centuries, until Stanley and Livingstone explored 
darkest Africa afresh- 
Still, one wonders what feelings of alarm and 
amazement filled the "publisher" of the Periplus in 
Carthage when he was presented with a gorilla as 
an exhibit if publishers in Carthage were 

given to such window display ? Probably they were, 
being acute business men, and Carthaginians! 

Not a fraction of the significance of this Punic 
civilisation is comprehended by the world. His- 
torians are possessed of certain facts. The records 
are tucked away in erudite volumes, lying high and 
dry, and probably dusty, on library shelves. But, 
even America owes a considerable debt to the Car- 
thaginians. How considerable the debt is, only 
America can judge, for it was Himilco, the Cartha- 
ginian, who discovered Ireland. One would be 
quite safe, I imagine, in saying that very few Irish- 
men know that even in the earliest Carthaginian 
days, the land of Ire was called the "Holy Isle, with 
abundant emerald pastures, and covered with eternal 
fogs." (See Ora Marit, of Festus Aviennus.) 

There is no limit to the fascination of Carthage,, 
but we shall meet many of these people again, pos- 
sibly more intimately, as the story of the excavations 
is told in greater detail. These, and many others 

31 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

who have carved for themselves a lasting signifi- 
cance, for each period is rich in lore and value. 

I have dealt with the Punic era perhaps more at 
length than is fair to subsequent times, but on the 
whole it has been possible from exterior sources 
to gain some general knowledge of the people who 
came after the Phoenicians. Of the people, and the 
habits, of the early dwellers on the isthmus, know- 
ledge is not so widely disseminated. 

For example, it is not generally known that the 
Carthaginians invented the "dumb" trade. They 
told Herodotus of a land called Lybia, where the 
natives came down from the forests and left gold 
dust on the shore, for which the Carthaginians ex- 
changed merchandise. The exchange was made in 
the absence of both parties, and only decided when 
each side was satisfied with the bargain. One can 
venture a guess, however, that the civilised Cartha- 
ginians held the scales. If the merchants grew 
tired of the dilatoriness of the Lybians, they simply 
sailed away, without trading, so to teach the salu- 
tary lesson, and since the merchandise was neces- 
sary to the people of the forests, the lesson was 
readily learned. The last word is usually with the 
higher civilisation. 

Some laws of the Carthaginians bore a close 
resemblance to laws we know. In particular 
prohibition. All signs point to the fact that the 
people of Carthage were inclined to heavy drinking* 
They were famous for their wine, and even exported 

32 



CARTHAGE THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

it to Rome From the vast number of amphores 
and vases discovered at Carthage, Utica, and under 
the sea at Djerba, it is evident that wine occupied 
a prominent place both in trade and in the social 
life of the city. However, the debated amendment 
was anticipated by a Punic Volstead during a war 
that antedated the recent world conflict by many 
centuries. (Ref. Arist. (Econ., i 5.) 

In the garden of the Monastery of the White 
Fathers now at Carthage, there is an inscription at 
the base of a restored monument, dedicated to "the 
marvellous wine merchants, and the splendid and 
pure quality of the wine, from the grateful city of 
Carthage." 

So excavation leads us to the past, to tell of people, 
who centuries ago, were very much of the same na- 
ture as we are ourselves, and lived a life not so very 
different They were without the modern compli- 
cations of aerial navigation and wireless telegraphy, 
but they had their own problems, and life was 
quite intense enough. In some ways, perhaps, I 
should have preferred the joys and emotions of 
Carthage to those of to-day. They were not so 
crowded as to lose their power, and when they 
were experienced! But that is imagination after 
all. 

That great civilisation was destroyed, deliber- 
ately and of set purpose, destroyed through envy and 
malice, by the Romans, who, in 116 B.C. attempted 
to establish a colony there. The effort was still- 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

born. Julius Caesar, after his magnificent cam- 
paign in Africa, which ended in the defeat of Cato, 
Varus and Juba, attempted another revival in 
46 B.C. 

The inception of the scheme again touches a mod- 
ern note, Rome had its unemployment problem, 
and it is said that Caesar, dreaming in his camp 
among the ruins, had a vision of the difficulties at 
Rome, and like modern statesmen in countries 
whose industries cannot absorb all the working 
classes, thought to alleviate the misery by migra- 
tion He determined to make Carthage anew, with 
Roman colonists* This time the venture succeeded. 
In an incredibly short time, Carthage became the 
second city of the Roman Empire, and even excelled 
the glories of the earlier Phoenician city 

Christianity came at the end of the second cen- 
tury, and, in the fourth century, historians men- 
tion no less than 580 adherents to the faith. This 
is another terrible chapter, whose full significance is 
only slowly appearing. The persecution of Chris- 
tians in Africa was more merciless than the perse- 
cution in Italy. The amphitheatre at Carthage 
saw the tortured martyrdoms of those noble women 
St. Perpetua and St. Felicitas. Cyprian, Bishop of 
Carthage was beheaded, and at Cirta, Lambcssa and 
Utica, hundreds of Christians were burned to death 
in furnaces. 

Dissension and schism added to the troubles of 
the church. It was at Carthage that the schism 

34 




Carthage The great tanks near the Basilica of 
St Cyprian 



CARTHAGE THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

of the Donatists arose, as a result of the debate 
between the Bishops of Numidia and Carthage. 
The Donatists met their final defeat in the vast 
baths of Gargilius, which we believe are now being 
excavated. Here St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, 
at the councils of 311 A D by his wonderful oratory 
and erudition, resolved the heresy. 

But schism in defeat was dangerous still. The 
Donatists, though defeated, persisted, and their 
antagonism stretched over many years. Ideas last 
longer than the men who give them birth. In 
438 A.D the fanatical Donatists allied themselves 
with the forces of Genseric, king of the Vandals, who 
had been treasonably invited by Boniface, governor 
of Africa, to invade the country. 

The provinces were conquered. Cities and mon- 
uments were destroyed, and Carthage was occu- 
pied Genseric died in 477 A D and was succeeded 
by his son Huneric, who inaugurated the most ter- 
rible persecutions history knows. 

Thereafter the vicissitudes are too numerous to 
be dealt with in detail, in the compass of this short 
introduction. The Vandals prospered a little while, 
and "like snow upon the desert's dusty face" were 
gone, but not before they had ravaged Rome, and 
brought the booty back to Carthage in four hundred 
vessels. Amongst the treasure were the spoils car- 
ried to Rome from Jerusalem. History records that 
the seven-branched candelabra and the gold vessels 
of the Temple were last seen at Carthage. 

35 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Local revolts succeeded, one after another There 
were periods when the Berbers were supreme. 

St. Louis of France commenced his ill-fated Ninth 
Crusade and died at Carthage, 

There was a Spanish Period, a Turkish Period, 
marked by one of the most remarkable naval actions 
in English history, when, in April, 1655, the entire 
pirate fleet of the Bey of Tunis, was destroyed by 
Admiral Blake. 

And, finally, there is the Husseinist period, when 
French interests became uppermost. Peace exists 
now in a land that has seen more bloodshed and 
horror than almost any other part of the earth. 
But, the glory has gone out. Civilisations that 
once were mighty and proud, lie in the dust. 

That is what I began to say, that is the thought 
behind the sketch of the principal movements of 
the recorded history of Carthage. The germ of 
enthusiasm is virulent. On the peninsula now are 
men working almost unceasingly, striving to compel 
the crowded earth to surrender its secrets, to release 
the wonders that have been hidden away 

The land is so full of possibility. The actuality 
of its treasures, scientifically and intrinsically price- 
less, is unquestionably established. 

Jules Renault would have carried on with us, 
but he died. His enthusiasm still persists- It per- 
sists in all of us who have Carthage at heart. On 
me, as spokesman for the living and the dead, de- 
volved the task of bringing the urgency home to 



CARTHAGE. THE FIELD TO BE EXPLORED 

people, to whom a few short years ago, Carthage 
was only a name. Happily, to many thousands of 
people whom I have met, and to whom I have spoken 
Carthage is now more than a name. It is a chal- 
lenge, and a heritage. 



37 



CHAPTER III 

ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

THE fact that I felt the tremendous importance 
of continuing the excavations, and of preserving 
for posterity the things that have been lost for 
so many centuries, did not immediately impress 
other people. My adventures were many, and 
varied 

Enthusiasm has at least added to my experience, 
both of life and people 

However, subsequent to that preliminary trip to 
Carthage in 1920, 1 returned, as arranged, to France, 
to begin another kind of excavation! It was neces- 
sary for me to excavate a few of the treasures of the 
present, to be used for the purpose of excavating the 
treasures of the past. 

I contrived a small preliminary committee, which 
met at my Paris home. Fortunately we were able 
to obtain the help and enthusiasm of M* Louis 
Bertrand, the great French writer on matters con- 
cerning Africa, and he presided at the first meeting. 
M Stephane Gsell, the African historian, gave us 

38 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

his help too, and among others were Mr. Fred Singer 
and Mr Stoever, who both accompanied me later 
to Africa. 

The first plan of attack was decided. With a 
small party we sailed for Africa. We were met at 
Carthage by Pere Delattre and Dr. Carton, and 
proceeded to call upon the Resident-General, Lucien 
Saint, who was instantly enthusiastic. The pro- 
posal to begin a campaign for the preservation 
and excavation of Carthage appealed to his im- 
agination. 

From the Resident-General we went to Mr. L. 
Poinssot, Director des Services des Antiquites, and 
there also we found an encouraging welcome, rein- 
forced by the promise of whole-hearted collabora- 
tion and advice. 

The official permit to begin work had already been 
prepared, and was delivered to us on March 12th, 
1921. 

It was a great moment for me, for in concrete form 
it meant the fulfilment of my promise to my dead 
friend, Renault. 

Knowing that this was only the beginning, how- 
ever, we did things that perhaps seemed foolish 
to other people, but they proved their worth. All 
the time we had in mind the need for an ever-increas- 
ing popular support, a public interest ever widening, 
reaching to those who hitherto had been content to 
leave the whole labour of excavation and archaeol- 
ogy to the scientists We wanted to show that 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFEICAN GODS 

excavation has its importance for the man in the 
street, that the work belongs to nations, not to a few 
selected individuals from one or two academic 
groups 

We took films of what we were doing. It was 
the fiist time that archaeological research had been 
filmed, and the idea did not meet with very great 
favour at first. Since then, however, the value of 
the step has been recognised, and it is a common 
practise in many universities to-day, to use films 
for instruction. Our photographer was the young 
Prince Edgard de Waldeck, who had spent a fort- 
night of intensive training in Paris, preparatory to 
this task. 

Photography helped us on the spot, eventually. 
We discovered many things about the motion pic- 
ture camera, more than its manufacturers expected 

The camera was our private detective, and it was 
the means of instilling a greater aptitude for work 
into the Arabs, who did much of our digging. 

Of course, like all groups who are excavating not 
too far from the tourist routes, we had our casual 
visitors, and souvenirs were much in demand* 

It was impossible to supply the demand, or to 
comply with every request for trophies, but as far 
as we could, we tried to make it interesting for the 
visitors. We arranged such exhibits as were pos- 
sible, and allowed the tourists to wander around 
and see what they could. For the most part they 
were unattended, but all the time the camera man 

40 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHEES 

was turning away at the handle, and achieving un- 
expected results. When we came to develop the 
films, we had a very moving picture of the ac- 
quisitive tendencies of amateur archaeologists! 
They had been caught in the act 

The pictures showed them glancing carefully 
around, to see if anyone watched Reassurance 
spread over their faces, their eyes brightened, their 
hands crept to our discoveries, swept over them like 
devastating locusts, and our trophies were 

palmed and pocketed 

One can visualise them, at the end of the jour- 
ney, showing their discoveries to other interested 
people, and one can hear the truthful and prideful 
boasts. 

"I picked that little thing up myself., in Car- 
tilage'" 

Well, it advertises Carthage to the world, and 
ultimately may prove to be seed well sown. 

The camera is nearly indispensable to an explor- 
ing and excavating party. It is a charm for the 
native workers 

Foolishly enough, I suppose, I must explain that 
the reason archaeologists employ workmen is, that 
they want work done. Ambition rises high in the 
director of a group when he sees a squad of fairly 
muscular men with pick-axes and shovels. With 
such an army, one could conquer the three parts of 
Gaul! But, for all their stature, they are children, 
and work they sadly dislike. 

41 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow . . . 
Creeps on this petty pace from day to day . . . 
to the last syllable of recorded time. . . . 

That might well have been written originally of 
Arab workmen. Under ordinary circumstances, they 
will do anything but work, they will evidence an 
interest more academic than the professors over the 
minutest fragment of discovery, and will stand 
around in awe and wonder when the dust is being 
sieved. They will discuss this or that, or any- 
thing. They are the world's best dodgers. Then 
picks move with a graceful and slow motion, and 
the tenderest relic is safe from harm, from their 
blows. 

The "movies" changed all that. Under its stim- 
ulus, the Arab becomes fired with an enthusiasm 
that is both baffling and contagious. If he dreams 
there is hope of a picture, and is warned in time, he 
will don all his Sunday clothes, dress up the family, 
and press-gang all his friends, and so long as the 
crank is turning, he will work* Work serious, 
heavy, sustained labour, becomes his passion, if so 
be that he may later see himself reproduced on the 
screen. 

I am afraid we learned to exploit that tendency a 
little. There were days when we had an operator 
with a filmless camera turning away at the crank 
for dear life. Then we accomplished much. It is 
a pity that the Carthaginians were deprived of the 

42 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

motion picture camera Its presence would have 
made the lot of the slave at least more enjoyable, if 
no lighter. The work would have been done as 
expeditiously, and the slave master's arm would 
not have risen and fallen so frequently, nor would 
the whip have coiled into living flesh so mercilessly. 

Of course, this passion for the films had conse- 
quences that could not be foreseen, and having hap- 
pened were difficult of explanation. 

There was generally a camera going, and I remem- 
ber that one day a group of unsuspecting tourists 
was passing along through a newly excavated spot, 
where the men were still at work. On the runway 
above, three Arabs were pushing a tipcart along the 
rails to the dump They mistook the dump, and 
launched the load on to the heads of the innocent 
visitors That accident needed diplomacy of the 
highest order to explain, particularly in face of the 
wholehearted and frank laughter of the childlike 
Arabs, who instantly ceased work in order to the 
more enjoy the spectacle And the laughter of 
Arab workmen is fundamentally sincere * They will 
laugh at any misfortune to other people, and drive 
themselves into complete exhaustion, if the joke is 
on the other fellow. Especially if the other fellow 
is the foreman. 

The foreman got it one day. A crow-bar fell on 
his foot, and it must have hurt him considerably 
for he lay on the ground moaning in agony. Did 
his workmen help him? Hardly. It was too much 



DIGGING FOB LOST AFRICAN GODS 

of a joke, and they laughed themselves into positive 
fatigue, and lay alongside the victim, too tired to 
work. 

Our cameras and motion picture machine were 
working steadily. We soon had good records locked 
up in yards of film, and Dr Carton took us round 
many of the dead cities, while Pere Delattre devoted 
many hours of the day explaining to us the field of 
Carthaginian archaeology. 

Pere Delattre has passed on to me a priceless boon, 
the experience and knowledge gained in a life work 
at Carthage, and of fifty years of digging and study. 

With the result of this first year's work, I returned 
to Paris, where we showed the films at a private view 
in the home of Mr. and Mrs Fred Singer. 

There our inexperience betrayed us. Full of con- 
fidence, we started to show the films ourselves, and 
before we knew what had happened, we had several 
hundred feet of film unwound and coiling on the 
floor. Meanwhile I had to keep on talking, before an 
empty screen. It might have been a fiasco, but luck 
was with me, and ultimately we had the whole party 
at work on the floor putting the film to rights. 

That was the beginning of adventures in lectur- 
ing that have lasted for five years. But it was a 
beginning. Soon thereafter I sailed for the United 
States on my first real lecture tour. 

It seemed a dreadful undertaking to lecture before 
the American public on what is universally consid- 
ered the driest subject on earth, in the driest coun- 

44 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

try on earth, and to begin before popular imagina- 
tion had been fired by the discovery of Tut-ankh- 
amen's tomb. 

Before commencing the actual tour, I made sev- 
eral visits to "Castle Rock/' the beautiful home of 
Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn, whose daughter 
Josephine, had been a member of the original Car- 
thage committee. It was due to Professor Osborn 
that the funds for the first year's work were ob- 
tained, and at his home, I met several other people 
who were instrumental in raising financial support 
for the campaign. 

I remember, though it seemed strange to me at 
the time, how guests were allowed to sleep on the 
roof if they wished to watch the stars, and that 
many hours of an evening, I talked with Langdon 
Warner about Mongolia and the Sahara, 

While I was on the train to Castle Rock, for the 
first time, my valise was stolen, the valise which 
held all my records, and a number of "squeezes" 
and objects that I particularly wished to show to 
Professor Osborn. 

It could not have been the first warning of the 
curse of Scipio, but it was a disastrous moment for 
me. On that valise depended much of the possible 
success of the American tour, and for several days 
search parties were out, detectives were engaged, 
and rewards offered. At last, the valise was found 
m the fork of a tree, and the only things that were 
missing were my dress suit and Punic jewels. 

45 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Castle Rock, and that summer, will be always a 
happy memory for me I think of it often, and of 
the great company of scientists and explorers, Scott, 
Peary, Shackleton, Amundsen, and scores of others 
who have enjoyed the hospitality and encouragement 
of the Professor and Mrs Osborn. 

My first meeting with Lee Keedick was more 
interesting to me than to him. I knew nothing 
about lecturing, and less about lecture tours, and I 
did not so much as guess what was waiting for me f 
Lee Keedick impressed upon me that it was my only 
chance of raising funds, and that, incidentally, he 
had arranged the tours of many of the world's great 
explorers, including my two friends, Shackleton and 
Amundsen 

"But," he added, "y u must be known. The 
newspapers must have your story, and they must 
write it up all the time/ 5 

This disheartened me for a while. I had never 
given an interview, and was not in any hurry to 
begin. Newspaper men and newspapers, I held in 
awe. I had seen something of what they could do. 
But Lee Keedick was adamant. 

"Tomorrow/* said the manager, "expect the 
entire New York press to pay you a visit at Castle 
Rock/' 

They came while I was at luncheon, and I am 
afraid I sent them home again. Disaster upon 
disaster, but I could not help it ! Some people called 
it temperament, others had words not so kind, but 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

I was helpless. They were so many, and I was 
alone. I felt that I could not possibly be the man 
they wanted to see. 

Of course, I found my lecture manager in a furious 
mood, and he told me that our contract was useless 
until I "got Carthage on the map again Dido's 
home town f " 

So, the next day, being duly chastened, I came to 
town and called upon the gentlemen. The result 
was, I fear, what I had dreaded. Several of the 
more conservative papers carried correct and quite 
useful articles, but there were one or two which 
worried me Not Carthage, but my "long ungrace- 
ful legs" made front page articles. They made 
much of my excitement at digging up HarfriibaPs 
bones, though my work is at Carthage, and Hannibal 
died at Bithynia on the Sea of Marmora! 

When Tut-ankh-amen's tomb was cleared, and the 
reporters were returning home, we were visited by 
a few at Carthage. They were what are called 
"sleuths for news," and one man pestered me day 
after day, day after day, wanting something inter- 
esting. It must always be "interesting/ 5 some- 
thing with a "punch" to it, with scope for the 
imagination. 

I had little news just then, but he went round the 
museum and elsewhere, and at last he came across 
a huge pile of bones. They were actually camel 
bones, that one finds in bushels during the course 
of excavation, but he saw in them the bones of the 

47 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

elephants of Hannibal, and I fear I did not dispel the 
illusion. At any rate, he went out of our sight 
like a hare, his feet kicking up little puffs of dust. 

By the time he reached the telegraph, those bones 
had ceased to be dry. He had done what no other 
archaeologist has so far succeeded in doing. He 
had re-created the stables of Hannibal, mentally of 
course, and sent across a message which gave this 
priceless information to the world. Such are the 
vicissitudes of reportorial adventures, however, that 
by the time the news reached the Pacific Coast, it 
was the veritable teeth of the great Carthaginian, 
Hannibal himself, that had been restored to the 
wondering world! 

Thereafter I confined myself to speaking to aca- 
demic and scientific gatherings, which I enjoyed, as 
much for the peace as for the appreciative people 
with whom I came into contact. And they kept me 
very busy. 

After a lecture in Washington, and a generous 
donation from a patron of the work at Carthage, who 
still insists on being anonymous, I went to Johns 
Hopkins to lecture for the Archaeological Institute of 
America. 

It seemed, of course, that in throwing up the 
public lecture tour I had jettisoned a great oppor- 
tunity, but there must have been a special providence 
looking after me. I am sure that I deserved all the 
anger that Mr. Lee Keedick managed to hide, and 
he did not hide it all, and that I perhaps deserved 

48 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

to be faced by disappointment. But I should like 
to make it clear, if I can, that I was very jealous for 
the scientific accuracy of reports concerning Car- 
thage, I was only the pupil of great men, and the 
reports gave rather a wrong outlook on the work 
they were doing. 

However, I had, more or less, burned my boats, 
and providence provided another fleet! 

When I left my programme high and dry, and took 
the opportunity offered to lecture at Johns Hopkins, 
I had the good fortune to be the guest of Professor 
and Mrs. David Robinson, one of America's leading 
archaeologists, and I found the lecture was to be 
given to a very large audience, which, fortunately 
for me, was very enthusiastic. 

It was not actually my first public speech of course, 
that had been inflicted upon the French Institute 
at New York, where I was introduced by the Vicomte 
de la Jarrei,the explorer of the Sahara, who spoke 
so long and so well that when he had finished I had 
no new contribution to make in addition to what he 
had already said. Incidentally, that was my first 
attempt to speak with the films, a feat in itself, 
for the operator was enthusiastic, and more fluent 
than I was, for many times I found myself centuries 
behind the picture on the screen. 

On that film, for example, the temple of Tanit was 
excavated in one minute, forty seconds. A world's 
record in archaeology, for any temple! Hannibal 
sped over the Alps faster still, and we ourselves 

49 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

sped across Africa in a manner that would have 
made Barth, Rohlfs and Duveyrier squirm in their 
graves. It was hopeless to try to signal the operator 
to slow down. He was deaf and invisible. The 
lecture was in French, and the audience entirely 
American, but they listened courteously, without 
complaining. The film came unstuck about every 
ten seconds. 

That was an hour of exquisite agony, but the 
audience was kind. I believe they enjoyed as much 
seeing my face and my efforts to keep calm when 
the lights went up, as they enjoyed the pictures. 
Perhaps more. Certainly, they enjoyed it more than 
I did. I tremble still at the memory of that night. 

Following Johns Hopkins came an invitation from 
the National Geographic Society at Washington. 
My well-meaning friends had told me that it was a 
very learned, very cold, and very critical audience, 
and I was miserable. I was more miserable still 
when I found that my hip flask . . I am doubt- 
ful if I should mention this . had been left at 
the hotel ! The lack of that friend, who had warmed 
my heart before lectures in many a drawing room, 
nearly broke me. If it had not been for the kind- 
ness of Mr. Grosvenor, President of the Society, and 
his sympathy and encouragement, I think I should 
have pleaded heart failure. Still, I muddled through. 
The audience was splendid, and many people sought 
me out after the lights went up again. They put 
friendly questions to make me at my ease, and they 

50 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

expressed their thanks, and said that I was "very 
young" ! 

At the meeting of the Archaeological Institute of 
America, held at Yale University, Professor Robin- 
son and Professor Magoffen told me that the Insti- 
tute had elected me the Norton Memorial Lecturer 
of the Institute. This was a travelling lectureship 
of $2,000, awarded each year to a lecturer on Euro- 
pean archaeology. The great honour was bestowed 
on me on the day that my engagement to Miss Alice 
Kenny was announced. Miss Kenny was holding a 
reception at her parents* home on Fifth Avenue, 
at the very moment that I was delivering the lec- 
ture at Yale. Needless to say, my thoughts were 
far from Hannibal, Tanit and Punic Carthage that 
day. And on the next I started on the tour as the 
Norton Lecturer, taking a journey which included 
the important centres between New York and 
Toronto. 

I had a bad quarter of an hour at Rochester. I 
had enjoyed the fine American hospitality of my 
friends at dinner, and we arrived at the lecture hall 
to find a crowd of several hundreds of people waiting 
outside, unable to get in. Ultimately we had to 
break in, and, for certain reasons it took us twenty 
minutes to get inside, and the lights going. For- 
tunately the crowd was typically American; it took 
everything in good part, and we were all soon creep- 
ing around with matches and candles, supplemented 
by a few electric torches. 

51 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

We could find nothing, lantern, films and motion 
picture projector were all missing. So was the 
janitor. But at last we got the lights on. Then 
we had no screen! One or two, more adventurous 
than the rest, borrowed a sheet from the house 
next door, and I fixed it with safety pins to the 
bottom of the drop curtain. Then we took the 
basement by storm, hunting for the lantern. It was 
a great campaign. To several groups were given 
definite objectives, and ultimately we found most of 
the essentials, excluding the janitor, who was suf- 
fering from an overdose of personal liberty, exer- 
cised contrary to the rules laid down by Mr. Volstead. 
He didn't revive till morning. 

Quite naturally, Professor McLean of Rochester 
was desperate, since the arrangements for the lec- 
ture were in his hands, and he had most carefully 
instructed the janitor. I was terribly sorry for this 
good friend of mine in his dilemma, who had six 
hundred people waiting and foraging for a couple of 
hours, in order that they might hear a lecture on 
archaeology. It was proof, at least, that the sub- 
ject had caught on. 

After endless troubles the lecture started, but the 
machine refused to function, and being urged, retal- 
iated by ripping up several hundred feet of film. It 
was a bitter blow, because I had only one print, and 
this was only the beginning of the tour 

All things must come to an end The lecture was 
no exception Long after midnight we finished, and 

52 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

the good-natured crowd gave us a wonderful ova- 
tion. I have a warm heart for Rochester and all 
those good friends, as well as gratitude for the mag- 
nificent help that city had lent to our work in North 
Africa. 

My personal adventures in and about Rochester 
di d not end with the lecture. It was there that I 
landed in the wrong Pullman car, in full evening 
dress, tired out after a lecture. Unwonted noises 
awoke me a little later, and I peered out. My con- 
sternation can be imagined. The Pullman was 
reserved for a woman's club or school, and the right- 
ful occupants of the car were there, getting ready 
to turn in, blissfully unaware of the man in their 
midst. 

The porter had made a mistake in showing me to 
my berth. My coach was probably the next one 
It was decidedly awkward for me. My valise with 
my day clothes and my pyjamas was under the lower 
berth! 

In the small hours I caught the Pullman maid, who 
nearly screamed when she saw me, and that would 
have been confusion worse confounded, but she 
simmered down when I told her my sad tale. I 
asked her to get my valise out and hand it up to 
me, so that I might change and make my escape 
before the girls awoke. 

The valise was the crux of the whole matter. 
Three different times during the night I had climbed 
out to get that bag, nervous and covered with 

5$ 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

perspiration at the thought of being discovered, but 
the valise was wedged in The weight of the lady 
who lay on it, held it fast. 

The maid ultimately secured the bag for me, and 
now it seems more humorous than it did then; I 
got away before the ladies awoke. 

Another time, I found that my connections would 
not work out, my second train being snowed up. I 
began the last sixty miles of the journey in a motor, 
and that, too, was snowbound. The last four miles 
I undertook on foot, and got snowed up myself. 
When I arrived at Mrs Coonly Ward's home near 
Rochester, I was carrying my films in a hat box, 
feeling like Captain Scott 

Once, without money, (the thieves had even taken 
my cuff links when it was too late to wake up the 
members of the reception committee and I should 
have been too nervous to try, anyway I made four 
trips between my hotel and the station on foot, and 
in the snow. It was bitterly cold, and the snow 
was fine dust, which worked into my pumps, for I 
was still in evening dress. There it froze. There 
was another lecture ahead, however, and I simply 
had to make that train. In small consignments I 
carried everything from the hotel to the train, and 
piled up the stuff on my bunk, valises, antiques, and 
films all carried through the streets of the city at 
two o'clock in the morning 

My last quarter went to the Pullman porter next 
morning. I had saved that for the purpose, despite 

54 



ORGANISING EXPEDITIONS AND OTHERS 

tlie comments of the station porters who thought I 
was too much of a tightwad to pay for help with my 
luggage. 

It will be long before I forget those six miles, after 
two lectures. 



55 



CHAPTER IV 

THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

IT is a fact of which I am proud to make confession 
that the wealthy people of the United States do 
take very much to heart the advancement of sci- 
ence in all its departments. Ultimately, a cause 
that is established as being of value to the educational 
development or final well-being of humanity may 
hope for a reasonable measure of support. And 
the help is forthcoming in many, and interesting, 
ways. 

Many good friends of our expeditions have been 
insistent on remaining anonymous. Here I would 
say that, although one reluctantly respects their wish 
to be unknown, we in Carthage; Pere Delattre, the 
Abbe Chabot, and a company of distinguished and 
self-sacrificing men, are duly cognisant of their 
generosity, and wish that we could make known to 
the world of science what Carthage owes to them. 
They are building, I firmly believe, even better than 
they know. Perhaps the future will permit of my 
telling the story of the silent people At any rate, 

56 



i^^m^m^iMfrir , jv# j&: / >*" > ^ 






THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

the very stones speak, and I imagine that these 
donors will not be able to come to Carthage and 
return without feeling the undisclosed satisfaction 
evoked by the work they made possible. 

It will be a happy day when I can show them 
what they have done. My Arabs will dress for a 
gala day. They do that on the least provocation. 
How much more will they be en fete for the founders 
of their work. 

Five years, now, the excavations have been in 
progress. The first year, really the first two, we 
were very restricted. I had to appeal to a very 
limited number of my own personal friends, who saw 
the possibilities of excavation even before my trips 
abroad could be undertaken. And the result was 
more than encouraging. Difficulties abounded, nat- 
urally. We were working in ^ district that, to this 
day, retains the ineffable impenetrability of the old 
Carthaginian traders, and to make an inch of prog- 
ress necessitated a mile of negotiation. 

Negotiation indeed. The people who hear about 
excavations would hardly believe that an exploring 
party has its own special lawyer, always on the job 
It is not exactly an open field for us. The land 
belongs to someone, and that someone is likely to 
repent of his bargain in leasing permission to exca- 
vate. Especially likely if a "find" of any import- 
ance is brought to light. 

We once acquired a piece of ground that bore 
signs of archaeological value, and we entered into a 

57 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

proper and legal contract with the owner for the 
right to work there. We found something It 
wasn't terribly important, as antiquities go, but the 
former proprietor, who had thought us wrong, and 
that he was getting good money for bad land, thought 
that, if the little discovery came so soon, the big 
discovery would come later. He preferred to dig 
on his own account, and he drove us out of the 
excavation at the point of the gun. He would 
have used it, too, if we had resisted at that moment. 

Thanks to the French Government, the law is a 
real force in Carthage now, and our friend found him- 
self locked up for a while. 

There is no sharp practice in the way excavating 
parties get the right to work. It is all open and 
above aboard, and the landowner usually gets a 
very fair deal, whether he gives it or not. But the 
landowners try all sorts of tricks. 

Against these indigenous difficulties we struggled 
along for two years, and all the time the work 
tended to increase. Perhaps we got a little more 
ambitious as the days went by, and wanted to see 
as much as possible accomplished in our lifetime. 
We had to go out for help. 

For the third year's work we received some assist- 
ance from friends who were beginning to wax more 
enthusiastic; but the fourth year was the annus 
mirabihs, our wonderful year. 

That fourth year f That was the year when we 
had a committee in Washington, with the help 

58 



THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

of M. Jusserand, and his associates, the year when 
the American Universities came in. Fifteen thou- 
sand dollars from this one, five thousand, five hun- 
dred from that, and so on. And not only the money, 
but their scientists, too. Very soon, we had no fewer 
than fifteen trained men, and ten students on the 
field. And how we went to work! 

Relatively speaking, it wasn't a lot of money 
But, by the time the dollar has reached Paris, it 
has multiplied itself three times. When it reaches 
Carthage it has multiplied itself three times again. 
It is a dollar when it leaves America. It is twenty 
francs when it reaches Paris. And even an Ameri- 
ican could live quite nicely on twenty francs a day 
in Carthage People say fifty thousand dollars 
more fluently than they say a million francs, but a 
million francs goes further. 

I have to confess that sometimes we had our own 
little worries out there. People came to see us, 
and we weren't properly advised who they were. 
That is incidental to the work. Publicity did that 
for us It is surprising to many people, who get 
an original brain-wave, and take a run to the exca- 
vations at Carthage, to know how many other people 
have had the same brain-wave, at the same identical 
moment, and reach the excavations simultaneously 
It is a fact that in order that the work may go on, 
we have had to put Carthage, or at least our little 
bits of it, in a state of siege We have barbed-wire 
entanglements to keep off the invaders. Some of 

59 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

the invaders are marauding Arabs, and some maraud- 
ing tourists. 

I, myself, nearly put my foot into it one day. I 
should have succeeded if the visitor had been any 
other than he was, or had not been blessed with a 
sense of humour. I was up to my eyes in Carthagin- 
ian dust, working away, when someone spoke to me. 
In the heat of the moment I took him for a Cook's 
tourist, though Cook's tourists are not distinguish- 
able from those pertaining to other travel bureaux, 
and I shoo'ed him out. I even detailed an Arab 
to show him the way out, so that he might be sure 
to find the exit. 

You can imagine my terrible consternation when 
I met him in New York. He was a very kindly 
disposed, and a very rich man, interested in archae- 
ology! And I went to him, most creditably intro- 
duced, to see if he would come over to Carthage and 
help us! 

He remembered the incident, and he recalled it 
to me. He told me how I had packed him off, and 
had lent him an Arab, "and your very choicest 
specimen, too/ 5 to see him off the premises. 

It seemed for a moment that I had embittered 
him, but I was so glad when I caught what must 
have been a twinkle in his eye, as he said, "and now 
you come and affront me with a request for help!" 

Do you know, he did help, wonderfully. 

I think the most priceless error of that kind, 
though, belongs to the Abbe Chabot 

60 



THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

Abbe Chabot is a grand old man, but very abrupt 
at times. For purposes of the excavations, he lays 
aside his usual clerical dress, and dons khaki. And 
he carries always a cane, not for offensive purposes, 
though it is good propaganda for the Arabs. He 
really needs it. The Abbe approaches age, and he 
loves the excavations very dearly indeed. They 
represent a life work for him. 

Can you imagine with what blanched amazement I 
beheld him one day driving a most exalted personage 
out of the ruins? How exalted that personage is 
in the service of diplomacy, and of what country, 
I ought not to say. Suffice it to say that under other 
circumstances, had the chief actors been less human, 
it might have been an "incident." 

Even now, it is difficult to repress a shudder when 
I recall the forbidding figure of the Abbe, expelling 
that other great man, and flourishing his cane Hie 
while he cried "Allez! Allez'" 

A few minutes later the Abb6 himself was a little 
perturbed, like a naughty child, when he knew what 
he had done. You may be sure we told him. The 
dear old cleric was unaware of the honour that was 
being paid to his work, and failed to recognise his 
own visitor, mistaking him for a tourist who had no 
business there at all It ended happily, fortunately, 
because the two people concerned were . well, 
just those two people. 

The support of our work has its own romantic 
and lovely side. Of course, we are never forgetful 

61 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

of the people who are able and willing to do quite 
big things for us They have the great satisfaction, 
too, of contributing to what many of us think is a 
universally important work. But what can we say 
that is fitting, of the efforts of a group of boys and 
girls, none of whom is probably used to his teens 
yet, who are sending a donation year by year? 

The story is worth telling. 

There was a boy. A hundred per cent. American 
boy. He was promised a Mediterranean tour, and 
he somehow heard the lecture on Carthage, and 
then nothing would do but that he should be allowed 
to take actual part in the excavations. He came, 
and he had his own particular little spot wherein to 
work; and he dug up some antiquities. I remem- 
ber there was a particularly good specimen of a 
lamp among his finds. Naturally that lamp and 
those antiquities meant the world to him, as, indeed 
they ought, for with his own hands he had unearthed 
something that had lain in the dust, unknown, for 
many, many centuries. He had a tangible link with 
Carthage in its greatest days. 

When he returned home he carried with him, by 
permission, a little case containing some of his own 
discoveries. And he had an imagination, which 
we could not have given him. When he reached 
home, he promptly organised a Junior League among 
his own friends, and they contrive somehow to send 
us a donation to the work, year by year When we 
can, we send back to the group a specimen or two, 

62 



THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

so that all the young friends may have evidence of 
what their sacrifices mean in the field of archaeology. 

Now we hope to have about a million francs for 
the work, and that means much to us, for we have 
several fields of excavation, of which I shall speak 
more fully in subsequent chapters. 

It was at Washington, in a room of the Cosmos 
Club, that the Franco-American committee, for the 
excavation of Carthage, was formed. The com- 
mittee consists, on the one side, of His Excellency 
M Jusserand, the then French Ambassador, M. 
Paul Leon, Directeur d'Academie des Beaux Arts, 
Pere Delattre, Stephane Gsell; M. L'Abbe Chabot 
and M Merlin. On the other side, representing 
America, the Committee included Mr. Robert Lan- 
sing, Mr. Merriam, Colonel Fowler, Mr. Mitchell 
Carrol, Mr Fred Singer, and Professor Washington. 

The size of the necessary staff for the actual work 
of excavation will perhaps convey some idea of the 
varied interests represented, and the number of 
departments which must be catered for, if excava- 
tion is to yield the best results. 

Our staff was 

General Director . . Professor F. W. Kelsey 

Associate Director . . . DeProrok 

Engineer . - Mr G Stoever 

Scientific Advisor . . Prof. Washington 

Cataloguer - - Prof. Petersen 

Petrographer . . . . Mr. Swain 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Punic Antiquities Abbe Chabot 

Christian Antiquities Pere Delattre 

Assistant Surveyor Mr Hayes 

Architect Mr. Woodbridge 

Tanit Area Mr. Harden 

Motion Pictures Mr. Kellerman 

Special Correspondent Mr. Streit 

Motor Transport Mr. Swain 

Specialists , Urns, etc. Dr. Orma F. Butler 

Miss N. L Butler 
Miss Julia E. Brittain 

Representing McGill Univ. Major Shorey 

Utica Abbe Moulard 

Assistants' C C. Wells, Rey de Villette, Hinton O'Neill, 
George French, Mr. Morris and G Scott. 

In all, a staff of twenty-five people, all specialists 
in their different lines. 

Thanks to the effort of the committee, and the 
support we were successful in obtaining, few expe- 
ditions have left for the field with a more complete 
outfit than we had that year. Most of the party 
sailed in the S. S. George Washington, and spent the 
trip over discussing plans, and reading up North 
African archaeology. 

With Professor Kelsey, we gathered round the 
great central table of the Salon, and had most val- 
uable lectures from him, interspersed with accounts 
of his lifelong and crowded activities. He was the 
whole spirit of the company, tremendously interest- 
ing, and of sound counsel. 

64 



THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

Perhaps here, just to conserve the spirit of the 
voyage, it will not be out of place to speak of the 
practical side of Archaeological exploration. I trust 
that it may not prove too dry to be of interest. It is, 
of course, of first importance to those who take 
more than a general interest in the subject. 

The fact is, that up to the last decade at least, 
Archaeology has been the Cinderella of the sci- 
ences It has gone forward for many centuries in 
one form or another, but it has been the pursuit of 
the very few. 

To the best of my knowledge, the first recorded 
archaeological expedition was organised and pros- 
ecuted by Nero. As Auguste Audollent says, in 
his Carthage Romaine, we have to go back to that 
victorious barbarian for the original effort at excava- 
tion, at least semi-archaeological, in Carthage. 

In the year 65 a Carthaginian, Caesellius Bassus, 
suggested to Nero a way in which he could get money 
for nothing. Nero's coffers were almost exhausted, 
his manner of living was such as is generally known, 
and it was urgently necessary to get more funds. 
Bassus reported that he had found several particles 
of gold in a cavern at Carthage, and firmly believed 
that he was on the track of the treasures of Dido. 
Nero listened eagerly, and fitted out Bassus with an 
expedition of some three hundred soldiers. When 
they reached Carthage the soldiers were not enough, 
and the civil population was drawn upon for extra 
labour. But Bassus worked in vain. 

65 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

He returned, so the story runs, to Nero, to report 
lack of progress, and Nero, enraged at the disap- 
pointment, and seriously in need of specie, sent 
Bassus back to Carthage to try again. With him he 
sent a number of other soldiers, to watch over Bassus 
and his men, to keep them at work. Failing success 
they were to be crucified. Legend credits Bassus 
with suicide during insanity, and adds that the unsuc- 
cessful workers were crucified. 

Such was exploration then, and Dido's treasure 
still remains to be located (Audollent, Carthage 
Romaine, p 50 ) 

In recent history, the real impetus, from a scien- 
tific point of view, was given by Napoleon, whose 
proteg, Champolleon, was interested archaeolog- 
ically in the civilisations of antiquity. That is to 
say, it is only during the last century that serious 
excavation has taken place. With Schliemann and 
Troy, the imagination was first awakened to the lure 
of lost cities, and the fascination of digging for them 
Scientific exploration properly so called, really dates 
from our own time, under the leadership of Flinders 
Petrie, and Sir Arthur Evans. 

One thing we have learned, above all others, by 
scientific approach to the subject. It is not the 
size of the discovery that determines the magnitude 
of its importance. If only the old explorers would 
have preserved the things they threw on to the refuse 
heaps! A fragment of pottery, a tiny bit of stone, 
may contain information that can give us more his- 



THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

torical knowledge than the discovery of a golden 
treasury. Some of the "waste" might have sup- 
plied missing dates, or have linked two civilisations, 
hundreds of miles apart* 

Consequently, in our work at Carthage, we sieve 
the earth on a certain site, and examine it minutely 
before dumping it into the sea. It is utterly im- 
possible to give a faint idea of the work thus involved. 
But it is work essentially worth while. 

So highly catalogued and so thoroughly special- 
ised are the various departments of archaeology 
that from such a tiny example as a bead, fallen 
from the necklace of a body found after a lapse of 
twenty centuries, we can determine the date of the 
period in which that tomb was made. 

As Professor Kelsey was continually emphasis- 
ing in those round-table conferences as we churned 
away across the Atlantic, the viewpoint has changed. 

Excavation used to be conducted for the collec- 
tion of specimens, for museums, or for private own- 
ers. Now, it is not the thing found that is all- 
important. It is the environment of the discovery, 
so that proper consideration by trained men may ulti- 
mately result in the complete reconstruction of the 
civilisation or conditions of life, of which the things 
unearthed are our tangible evidence. 

I remember Professor Kelsey saying with great 
emphasis that no excavation should be undertaken 
without a sufficient staff of experts to supervise and 
record the work. He went so far as to say that where 

67 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

such a staff is not available, the interest of science 
will be best served by leaving ancient remains pro- 
tected by the earth 

The Professor is right, as we have discovered by 
practical experience in conjunction with the sub- 
marine work at Carthage. Some of our work there 
goes below sea level. Now, as soon as an object is 
uncovered* the water is quickly pumped out, and the 
sun is allowed to get at the vase, or whatever it may 
be. The sun rapidly dries the specimen to its orig- 
inal hardness, and so it is saved Recently, we have 
saved over two hundred vases from the Temple of 
Tanit, simply by letting the sun dry them before 
they were touched. In previous excavations many 
important vases and urns were lost, because we 
did not have adequate pumping apparatus. 

As a further experiment, we are attempting a 
thin stone partition between the Temple and the 
sea, so as to prevent infiltration as we dig deeper 

The Arabs, who are doing the sieving, need care- 
ful supervision lest, through ignorance, they should 
destroy a valuable link with the past. The objects 
found have to be preserved and photographed and 
catalogued, and this means considerable time and 
research. Specialists have to be called in to give 
their views, and in some cases, it means years 
of collaboration and collation before the material 
can be assembled and made ready for scientific 
publication 

Professor Kelsey, who represents the modern scien- 

68 




/ tb*> Snvrfunrv f)f Tamt Left 



THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

tific outlook on excavation, rightly insists on a rec- 
ord so carefully made and verified by measurements, 
photographs, and all possible data, that any object 
can be put back into its exact place, and the earth 
restored to its original appearance, should such a 
replacement for any reason be found necessary 
That means work, but significant work, especially in 
the case of architectural ruins 

When we come across the ruins of buildings, it is 
necessary for the architect to be advised, ^nd the 
architect must be one skilled in the technique of 
buildings of the type discovered. He studies the 
ground, and the position of the find, and watches 
closely for any fragments that might otherwise pass 
unrecognised, and yet would give valuable hints of 
the disposition and appearance of the building. The 
way these pieces lie in the earth often indicates both 
the plan of the building itself and the use of the par- 
ticular fragment in the building* 

In spite of all this (and I suppose that I have 
given the impression that we go over the ground 
with magnifying glasses, on our hands and knees, 
in the interest of science), there is a huge mass of dis- 
carded earth to be got rid of somehow. We don't 
exactly go over the earth grain by grain, but we do 
go through it like people hunting for a needle in a 
haystack; and we go through quantities of sand that 
would have delighted even the walrus and the car- 
penter, immortalised by Lewis Carroll. This earth 
used to be moved away by mules under the charge 

69 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

of Arabs; one mule to two Arabs. Now it is carted 
off by trucks, carrying a ton each, and the dumping 
is done by the driver. 

Even in so prosaic a matter as dumping refuse, 
scientific application is essential. At Carthage it is 
positive that there is no spot in a reasonable radius 
that does not hide some buried ruins, and therefore 
we were faced with the question of covering a ruin 
still more deeply, or of excavating a site and then re- 
filling it with the surplus soil. We were actually like 
the Irishman who had more earth than he knew what 
to do with, and proposed digging a hole to bury 
it! 

Science showed us how to use the earth to good 
advantage. It is dumped into the sea after a thor- 
ough sieving, and in this way we are slowly gaining 
on the sea, which is valuable progress, for in a few 
years we shall have reached the submerged walls of 
Carthage, which lie a hundred yards from the 
shore. 

The alluvial deposits at Carthage are enormous. 
In the hollows between the hills we have calculated 
that as much as a yard a century is deposited. That 
means there are twenty yards of sand and earth 
between the surface and the Phoenician city. On 
the way through that, we pass the debris and ruins 
of Byzantine, Vandal, Roman, and other civilisa- 
tions. And of course, it is the Phoenician ruins that 
are our goal. 

In the five years of our work, we have taken care 

70 



THE METHOD OP EXCAVATION 

to measure the speed of the earth deposits The 
method is simple, but accurate. Iron measuring 
rods are sunk to rock bottom in several of the hol- 
lows, and records are carefully kept of the changes 
The deposit is due, of course, to the action of wind 
and rain. Each year we find a few inches of sand 
and earth on the roof of the home of the Expedition. 

One other factor of difficulty is the great Medjerda 
river, which, in antiquity flowed by the city walls. 
The Romans, so thorough in their frenzy of destruc- 
tion, tore down the walls, and the river ran uncon- 
trolled for centuries. The natural result was a con- 
siderable addition to the weight of earth above the 
Punic city. 

Free to flow where it would, the river changed 
its course. The mouth is now thirty miles away, 
silting up the ruins of Utica, where we are conduct- 
ing another field of excavation that should prove of 
the utmost importance. 

Utica was a great seaport in Phoenician times, but 
the Medjerda has left such a great deposit that the 
harbour is silted up, and the coast line is actually 
twenty miles away. So, at Carthage we have to 
fight the sea, which is now higher than the ruins of 
the Phoenician city, and at Utica we shall have to 
change the course of the river to prevent the ruins 
being covered up again. 

These are the things we talked about on the voy- 
age, because we were all keyed up by the prospect 
of a great advance. We talked about what we had 

71 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

done, and what we were going to do. Of all our 
future plans, perhaps two stood out most vividly 

The first was the use of the Aeroplane in archaeol- 
ogy. That venture, as an experiment, materialised 
three years ago, and since then we have continued, 
year by year, our prospecting from the air. 

In 1922, we took our first films and photographs 
from different heights, which resulted in our being 
able to trace the great submerged walls of ancient 
Carthage. Flying above the Gulf of Tunis, we were 
able to film clearly six miles of submerged wall, 
showing constructions a hundred and fifty yards 
from the present shore. I can still remember the 
interest with which the news was received by the 
Royal Geographical Society, when I lectured to them 
on the subject in London. 

The aeroplane was piloted by Captain Peletier 
d'Oisy, the famous French ace, who recently made 
the phenomenal flight from Paris to Tokyo. 

Our use of the aeroplane this year is to be more 
varied. At the moment we are using it to film the 
whole coast line, especially at a spot where we have 
located a sunken galley a stupendous find, of which 
I shall say more later and at the legendary island of 
Djerba, where we have located a city under the 
sea 

Through photographic exploration from the air, 
and with the use of a new type of rock drill, we hope 
very shortly to answer the important question of 
whether the whole Tunisian coast has settled since 

72 



THE METHOD OF EXCAVATION 

those old days, or whether the Mediterranean has 
risen in the last three thousand years. 

The aeroplane will be used further afield, in explor- 
ing the Sahara We have found that the outline 
of cities and walls are far more easily discerned from 
the air than from the ground level of those great 
spaces across Africa. 

Always further afield! We thought we had done 
much, with the aeroplane, and it seemed, as we 
talked on the ship, that we should have to wait for 
mechanical science to give us something new before 
we could proceed on any but the lines we have al- 
ready adopted. But just there, as though to give a 
greater thrill to an already thrilling event, we dis- 
cussed another proposal, which is now on the eve of 
being launched. 

Almost at once, even before I finish writing this, 
I shall be starting forward with a picked body of 
adventurous souls, varying in age but not in en- 
thusiasm, across the Sahara. It will be a scientific 
expedition in miniature, and we are promised a few 
external thrills, en route. 

We are motoring to the Hoggar, a thousand miles 
south of Carthage, travelling in specially designed 
six-wheeled Renault cars, and we hope to do in 
ten days what it took weeks to do on camels. We 
shall be linked with the outside world by wireless 
telegraphy. Messages will be relayed to Paris, and 
from there, in turn, news will be transmitted to Amer- 
ica, of the discoveries we may make on our journey. 

73 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

We hope to establish one or two things on this 
journey 9 the first, some details of the trade the Car- 
thaginians did with the desert. We know they got 
much of their gold from that source. And it may 
be that there is some real foundation in fact for the 
presence of the Emerald mountain, which figures so 
much in matters concerning Carthage. There arc 
lost cities in the desert, of whose existence we are 
assured, but whose site is uncertain. 

Along the way there are sad reminders of the price 
paid by some of those who blazed the trail. On our 
route are the graves of the Flatters, Palat, and 
De Foucauld expeditions, whose members lost their 
lives because of the fearful hardships, the lack of 
water, and the unceasing attacks of the murderous 
Sahara tribes. We shall pass their last resting- 
places, lonely spots in the desolate wastes. We 
shall pass, with motor car, wireless, and a mounted 
machine gun. How different the lot of succeeding 
generations 1 But in passing we shall remember 
them, the pioneers, the real explorers. 



CHAPTER V 
P:ERE DELATTRE 

THE object of excavation needs to be kept in 
mind It is easy to lose the broad and scientific 
view in the excitement of the moment of a new 
discovery. Very often things of rare beauty appear, 
which would be ornaments to houses or museums 
in other countries, and occasionally cupidity is 
aroused. 

If the specimens are several times duplicated, 
there is naturally no reason why they should not 
be allowed to leave the country. If they are unique, 
as is often the case, and .essential to the restoration of 
a site, then they must remain, despite the pleading 
and scheming of collectors. 

We have, therefore, to be very alert, much more 
alert than is generally realised. I remember a very 
illuminating incident in this connection 

We had all turned out to help Pere Delattre in the 
recovery of further portions of the Basilica of St. 
Cyprian, one day, and we were hot and tired and a 
little dirty. I say a little, because there have been 
times when we were dirtier, but not much. We 

75 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

had worked all day, and were on the point of finish- 
ing. Scattered around, but in their places, were bits 
of marble, parts of columns, plinths and pediments, 
which gave promise of very considerable advance in 
the restoration of the basilica* 

Scattered around also were visitors. It was 
before our introduction of barbed wire entangle- 
ments. I had finished, and was walking back to 
headquarters. As I went along I was met by a most 
excited tourist, wko perhaps took me for one of his 
party. He was too excited, I suppose, to think. 
In high feather he ran to meet me, to tell me of his 
wonderful find. He had been souvenir hunting, 
and, reposing in the tonneau of his motor car was one 
of our precious pieces. 

Very confidentially he told me about it. 

"I am going to take that back home with me," 
he said, "I'm building a new house, and this will 
be rather a surprise for ray neighbours, don't you 
think? I'll be the only one to incorporate part of 
the basilica of St. Cyprian in a modern house. That 
capital will make a wonderful tea-table." 

I was too amazed to speak for a moment, but I 
could feel the blood stretching the veins of my face 
This well-intentioned Vandal was very much bark- 
ing up the wrong tree. I could not have felt much 
more amazed if a burglar had told me in confidence 
that he had just robbed my house. But he was 
absolutely not to be repressed. I must also listen 
to the tale of his mechanical genius 

76 



PRE DELATTRE 

"It was a bit of a job," he boasted, "but we got it 
into the car. Just four of us* Myself and my 
chauffeur, and two Arab fellows who were lying 
about. It looked as though we wouldn't get away 
with it, but we did. Just look at it. And now Fin 
going, while the going's good.' 5 

I found my voice 

"The devil you are," I stormed. "Do you know 
what you are going to do? You are going to take 
that stone and put it back exactly where you found 
it, you and your chauffeur, and my Arabs 1 '* 

He did. 

It is the most astonishing thing in the world how 
little thought people can give to the question of 
whether they should or should not take specimens 
when they find them. Probably it is because the 
stones are lying on the surface of the earth, appar- 
ently ignored, looking as though they belonged to 
nobody. These people, or at least most of them, 
would never dream of stealing the same specimen 
from the British Museum or the Metropolitan. One 
has, at times, to drive that Lome, in Carthage 

That same basilica of St. Cyprian probably is the 
most illustrative and interpretative example of our 
work at Carthage. First the stones were discov- 
ered, and with them other details that helped us 
to get an idea of the habits and customs of the time. 
They were then mounted in the places they Lad 
occupied when the basilica was first built, and now 
it is intended to restore the surrounding land to a 

77 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

condition as nearly like the original as possible It 
is already quite easy to imagine what the early 
Christians saw, and how the place looked to them 

Looking down the avenue of pillars, one sees the 
sea. It is best in the sunrise or the sunset, for 
then the grandeur of the isthmus is at its greatest. 
Such colours fill the sky, and are reflected in the sea, 
as Turner dreamed of, but hardly dared depict 
The sun rises across the Gulf of Tunis, and the 
mountains are wrapped in a purple haze which is 
reflected in the bluest of blue seas. On the shores 
the waves are gentle, of clearest emerald. 

Beyond the columns of the basilica can be recog- 
nised the ruins under the sea. There is a deeper 
blue, and a deeper green outlining the walls. 

The columns St. Cyprian knew are always rich. 
Their colour without the sun is of old ivory tinged 
with gold, but when the sun reaches them they are 
shrouded in a soft mist of red. Imagine these, with 
the purple and mauve of the mountains and the 
blue and emerald of the Gulf. 

On the earth is a gorgeous carpet of North African 
flowers, interspersed with mosaics, the eternal pic- 
tures in stone* In the sky the birds sing. We have 
larks and nightingales in Carthage, and the night- 
ingale sings in the mornings, too. 

The basilicas stand almost on the very edge of 
precipices, positively blood-red in colour at all 
times, but intensified a thousand times at sunset 
and sunrise The red rocks are pinnacled, and jut 

78 



PfiRE DELATTRE 

out to sea, as though they were a file of sentinels 
guarding the entrance to the Gulf of Tunis. Cape 
Carthage towers above the basilica, and on its gar- 
den-covered summit are the white buildings with 
blue windows, and a slender minaret pierces the sky, 
above all else. The village spreads out like two 
wings of the symbolical dove which was sacred to the 
Carthaginians; the same symbol that is found in 
the hand of Tanit. 

Sidi-Bou-Said they call the sacred city, and 
Mahomedans claim that St. Louis is buried there. 
They too have made him a saint, "The Marabout/' 
asserting that he turned Moslem* At least they 
pay homage to a very great man. He must have 
been, since two religions claim him, and have canon- 
ised him 

Often, as evening falls, one can hear music from 
the great cathedral floating across the plains, and 
mingling with the voices of the White Fathers as 
they sing their Gregorian chants. 

P&re Delattre discovered the Basilica in 1920 and 
since then, by hook or crook, has managed to get 
together funds and helpers to re-establish a consider- 
able portion of the ruin. 

It was not until the excavations were over, and all 
the possible reconstruction finished that I heard 
him tell the story of its discovery. 

There came a day, however, when the work was 
done, and a wall had been built around the site 
The cost of the wall was borne by Marymount Col- 

79 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

lege, at Tarrytown, where my wife was for many 
years a student. It is an important wall, for it keeps 
out the goats and cattle that roam over the plain. 

"Now," said Pere Delattre, Archpriest of Car- 
thage, "my work is ready, and we are to have Mass 
for the first time in fifteen centuries, since Augus- 
tine was here." 

Pre Delattre is two people. He is the priest and 
the archaeologist. With his flowing white robe and 
his almost whiter beard, and wearing the red fez 
of the continent, he is recognised and respected 
wherever he goes. The Arabs, who have little con- 
sideration for the "infidels," worship him. They call 
him " the marabout," an honour which is as deep as the 
heart of man, and as expansive as the Sahara. 

He made the ceremony in the Basilica an hour of 
tremendous majesty. The White Fathers from the 
monastery, and the White Sisters from the con- 
vent, formed a long procession, carrying garlands of 
flowers to the resurrected basilica. For an altar, a 
few capitals had been gathered together, and the 
sacred vessels were placed on them. 

The old Gregorian chants were heard again on 
the Christian site, and homage was paid by the vast 
company to the saints of centuries ago, martyred 
for the faith. 

As soon as mass was over, Pere Delattre, the arch- 
aeologist now, and as excited as a boy, climbed to 
the top of a column, and told us all how he found 
the ruino 

80 



PJfeRE DELATTRE 

He is a picturesque figure, and a wonderful man, 
with undying enthusiasm. Though he is nearly 
eighty years of age, so excited was he to begin the 
tale that he nearly knocked the vessels over in his 
haste, and took an impetuous jump, incredible to 
those who are not used to him. An American youth 
with a mathematical mind did what I should never 
have done. He paced out that jump, and in amaze- 
ment said to Pere Delattre, who did not quite under- 
stand, "You ought to have been an Olympic cham- 
pion, and not an archaeologist. " 

Pere Delattre told us that, one day in haste to 
reach a sick Arab at Sidi-Bou-Said, he took a short 
cut through the fields covered with poppies. He 
could not waste time to go by the roads. In the 
midst of the poppies, his eyes ever alert for possible 
discoveries, he perceived a tiny bit of marble, 
which on examination he found to be inscribed with 
part of the Christian monogram. 

"I had no time/' he said, "to do more than put a 
stick into the ground, to mark the place, and then 
I ran on to my duties to the sick." 

He is like that. That is why the Arabs adore 
him, and call him "The Saint." When he had 
ministered to those who needed him, however, he 
hastened back to his find, and on hands and knees, 
examined the field. 

There were no further signs. 

"It was not much to go on/* he continued, "but 
the next day I went there with two Arabs and a 

81 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

pick and shovel, and we worked about the stick. 
Nothing was found before I went home." 

The next day, before mass was over, an Arab inter- 
rupted Pre Delattre, to tell him that, on the exact 
spot, two yards down, a mosaic floor had been dis- 
covered with the Christian symbol of the dove. 
The Arabs knew that such symbols were heart's 
delight to Pere Delattre, and that they would be 
forgiven for any indiscretion in interrupting him. 

"I have little more to say," added Pere Delattre 
to the crowd that had listened to the enthusiastic 
saint with an intensity that the story demanded, 
"except that I set to work, and, due to donations 
from the Archbishop of Algiers, managed to carry 
away huge masses of earth, and to lay bare the skel- 
eton that now you see. The discovery is especially 
thrilling because we know from history that the 
Basilica of St. Cyprian was by the sea shore, out- 
side the city walls, and now we have it here, as it 
was in the days of the saints." 

It meant the crowning of a long life to Pre De- 
lattre, and the old man cried with delight at the 
dramatic events of the day. 

"To-day we are holding mass here again!" he 
sobbed, and only they who know the devotion of 
the man can really understand what it meant. 

The men who are carrying on the work of St. 
Cyprian in Africa, Monseigneur Lemaltre, Primate 
of Africa, and Pere Delattre, are of the rightful suc- 
cession. They are of the race of heroes. It is no 

82 



P&RE DELATTRE 

sinecure working on that continent There are 
adventures and privations little advertised. When 
the news of his election was conveyed to the Arch- 
bishop, for example, he was in the Congo river, in a 
condition ready for a swim, but not a swim of pleas- 
ure for he was banging away trying to repair the 
propellor of his missionary ship The messengers 
came to him there, to announce that he was elected 
Cardinal. 

I have seen these two men in the desert, struggling 
with a disabled motor car; the Primate, covered in 
oil lay beneath the car and Pere Delattre, Arch Priest 
of Carthage was struggling with a tire 

There was another great man associated with 
them, one who now rests in the Cathedral, who is 
linked with our work by a strange coincidence. Pro- 
fessor Kelsey went to Carthage some time ago. I 
believe it was on his honeymoon. In any event, a 
piece of pottery now in the University of Michigan 
provided the clue which caused the work of Pere 
Delattre Cardinal Lavigerie sent P&re Delattre 
to Carthage. These two men had recognised the 
significance of the Christian monogram on the 
piece of pottery that Professor Kelsey took to his 
college. 

Now Lavigerie is dead. He was the Abraham 
Lincoln, the Wilberforce, of Africa. It was he who 
caused the liberation of the slaves, and on his tomb 
in Carthage are two representative figures. One, 
the negro, with broken chains, mourns his champion, 

83 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

the other, a Bedouin, holds sheaves of produce, 
symbolical of the peace and prosperity that came 
with Lavigerie. 

At Biskra, the monument to Cardinal Lavigerie, 
with marvellous fidelity, and true interpretation, 
shows him standing facing the Sahara, his robes 
flying in the wind, while in his hand, held high, as a 
Crusader held his sword, is the Cross. 

In a measure these two have their reward, their 
lasting monument is the basilica of St. Cyprian 
Not their only reward, and perhaps not significant 
in comparison with their human services rendered as 
ministers to the need of men, but humanity has a 
short memory and stones live long. Whenever 
future generations shall see, or hear, or speak, of the 
discoveries at Carthage, the ancient stones will speak 
also of the men who laboured there 

The basilica is the most impressive of all the rums 
of Carthage, and stands in the midst of natural 
beauty. It is vast in extent, comprising seven 
aisles, with abside or presbyterium, ciborium, and 
atrium. Hundreds of Christian tombs surround the 
ruin, and over 9 5 000 epitaphs and inscriptions were 
found. 

The inscriptions are now the especial pursuit of 
Pere Delattre, who has a phenomenal memory and 
an uncanny skill in placing in order He has dis- 
covered, and matched, over 13,000 fragments. It is, 
of course, the result of a life work, but nevertheless 
marvellous. I have seen him pick up a new frag- 

84 



PfiRE DELATTRE 

ment, recently unearthed, and run, in an ecstasy of 
glee, to an inscription that he had put aside, unfin- 
ished years ago, and fit the new section in 

It was in this way that he finally completed the 
Inscription of Saint Perpetua, the patron saint of 
Carthage, after seven years of labour 

Carthage has three great basilicas, which Pere 
Delattre has excavated, and in addition to these 
the amphitheatre, several chapels, and extensive 
cemeteries of the Christian period can be seen There 
are two other basilicas to be unearthed. 

We shall hear more of the tombs, but one small 
point can be recorded here. It is a little for the 
imagination, and one cannot be entirely sure of the 
theory that some of us hold. It is this, in many 
of the tombs of the early Christians we have dis- 
covered huge nails. In the tombs of those who were 
buried normally there are four nails There are other 
tombs, however, where we find only three, and 
they lie in such a position as would be expected if 
the tomb were that of one buried after being cruci- 
fied. The nails, and there are only three, lie where 
the pierced hands might have stretched, and where 
the crossed feet, pinioned by the agents of persecu- 
tion, would have been. It is a little discovery 
which reminds us that Carthage stood second only 
to Rome as a center of persecution. We may, 
indeed, have discovered the tombs of the martyrs. 

Relics of the early Christians are numerous, most 
wonderful of all being the famous statues of the 

85 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Virgin Mary, dating from the fourth or fifth cen- 
turies. 

Also, in the museum, is a great collection of Chris- 
tian lamps, and a replica of an organ, dating from 
the first century A.D 

To speak separately of all the items discovered 
would be to make this story into a museum catalogue 
and one must be content, therefore, to speak of rep- 
resentative items in each field. 



86 



CHAPTER VI 

CARTHAGE THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

WITHOUT a doubt, the discovery of the Temple 
of Tanit is the greatest archaeological event of 
Carthage, or of the whole of North Africa, so far. 
It is the first link with the history of Carthage, and 
is the only discovery of a considerable ruin in position. 

Tanit and her consort ruled the destinies of Phoe- 
nician Carthage, and her worship was characterised 
by lust and sacrifice nearly incredible. To her, 
little children were sacrificed, and in times of great 
national crisis adults were added to the victims. 

The temple is situated on the side of a hill, not 
far from the supposed site of the gates of the city. 
Now, of course, it is covered with the dust of many 
centuries, but in the day of the goddess it was sur- 
rounded by trees, the sacred grove characteristic 
of the cult. 

How we discovered the temple is a story not far 
removed from the exploits of Sherlock Holmes, or 
it might be better suited to the adventures of Pink- 
erton or Burns It is a story that becomes usual, 

87 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

after a few years of exploration, for it is the tale of 
the beginning of most discoveries. 

Information came to us that an Arab was selling 
"steles" of Punic origin, and we traced him to his 
home in an old cistern. By the assistance of a 
little anti-Volstead persuasion, we were able to induce 
him to uncover another stele which he had in the 
hovel. It was secured for the national museum at 
Tunis, and is one of the finest examples extant. But 
when we asked him where he discovered it, he sent 
us off on a fool's errand into the mountains, so that 
he might have a little longer time in which to work 
undisturbed, or perhaps in the hope that we should 
never discover his mine. 

The two " detective " archaeologists primarily 
concerned were M- Icard and M. Geilly. The lat- 
ter had found the Arab selling his specimens, and 
recognised the Punic descriptions. 

We dug in the place indicated by the Arab, and 
kept at it for about two weeks, before we were cer- 
tain that he had misled us. Therefore, one night, 
he was followed, and in the light of the moon was 
seen to be digging away like a rabbit in a hole. He was 
caught red-handed, and nearby lay ten votive stones. 

The site he was working on warranted full excava- 
tion, so the land was acquired, and we set to work 
The sanctuary of Tanit is the result. This, with the 
Punic tombs discovered by Pere Delattre, and sup- 
plemented by the more extensive operations that 
have been possible with our wider organisation, is 

88 




Urns at Tamt 



CARTHAGE. THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

the most important addition to the knowledge we 
have of early Carthaginian life. It is the outstand- 
ing archaeological success on the isthmus. By its 
means we are arriving at some understanding of 
the language, customs, literature and civilisation 
of the city in the early periods of its establishment. 

It seems to me, from the success which followed 
our later work, that if we were to take the Temple 
as our center, and dig around in ever increasing 
circles, we should finally unearth the whole of what 
remains of the early Phoenician settlement. 

The sanctuary itself is remarkable, being on four 
distinct levels, or floors of votive altars. Each level 
belongs to a different period of Carthaginian history, 
and the sanctuary probably dates from the founda- 
tion of the city, having continued in existence until 
Carthage was wiped out by Scipio a hundred and 
forty-six years before Christ We have discovered 
what remained after the fortnight of fire and the 
levelling plows of the Romans, hungry for revenge. 

Thousands of urns containing the relics and bones 
of sacrificed children have been found. From anato- 
mical comparison we know that the victims ranged 
from newborn babies to children of twelve years of 
age. They were put through the fires of Moloch 
and buried in the sanctuary. 

Probably at regular intervals, intensified in times 
of national crisis, defeat, famine or reverses, these 
human sacrifices were offered to the goddess to ap- 
pease and propitiate her and her consort. 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Terrible as the idea is to us, it is not difficult to 
visualise the fierce intensity of the priests who per- 
formed the sacrifices. We know, historically, that 
the cult was one of abandonment, and that dances 
and orgies preceded the ceremonies The people 
were driven to fanatical frenzy, the climax of which 
was the sacrifice. From Diodorus we know that 
when Agathocles menaced the city, in addition to 
the two hundred children sacrificed, three hundred 
men volunteered to suffer the same fate 

The monstrous brass figure of the Goddess towered 
above the altar, and before her roared the incandes- 
cent cauldron. Her arms were outstretched to re- 
ceive the sacrifices, but the arms were hinged, so 
that the body they held rolled forward, and dis- 
appeared, to be consumed by fire. 

Before her, raising a tumult that should drown 
the cries of the victims, in the dance that still per- 
sists, were her priests and devotees. 

The fanatical sect called the Aissaouas still dance 
a similar dance, remainder of the habits and customs 
of the days whose secrets we are now deciphering. 

Beginning slowly, they work to a frenzied cres- 
cendo. We are able to witness the dance, and actually 
to film it, though modern susceptibilities are so fine 
that I have been denied permission to show the film 

It must be admitted at once that the sight was 
both repulsive and terrifying, but it gave us a better 
understanding of the frame of mind which permitted 
and even gloried in human sacrifice. 

90 



CARTHAGE. THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

Prince M'Hamed, son of the Bey of Tunis became 
interested in our work. He knew little of archaeol- 
ogy* but quickly evidenced a great interest, and 
speedily acquired considerable knowledge of the 
subject. In the excavations of Tanit he had an 
especial interest, immediately recognising similari- 
ties between the cult and the habits of the Aissaouas. 

He told us that on a certain day the tribe was 
coming to the palace, to attempt to persuade the 
Bey to abdicate as a protest against the French 
administration, and so to pave the way for the 
declaration of a holy war. 

We were received at the palace in advance of the 
approaching fanatics, and, for our safety were sur- 
rounded by members of the Beyhcal family, and 
soldiers. That may sound a little melodramatic to 
some people, but the precaution was not a jot more 
than was necessary. In addition to our being "in- 
fidels" we had photographic apparatus, which has 
cost many people their lives, but, fortunately for 
us, the cinematographic machine was new to them 
and did not at all resemble the hated cameras to 
which they were accustomed. 

We were in the corner of the courtyard leading up 
to the steps of the palace. We were also as near 
to a door leading to the gardens as we could get. 
Here we mounted the machine, half in and half 
out of the door, surrounded by our guards and the 
Beylical family. 

We heard in the distance, far across the plains of 

91 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Carthage, the dull booming of great drums, the 
chanting of the priests and the "le-le" of the women 
on the housetops, urging the men to war. 

Such must have been the sounds that assailed the 
ears of the Byzantines when the great hordes of the 
Crescent swept like a scourge to the walls of Car- 
thage. 

A cloud of dust presaged the advancing horde, 
and from the dust burst the sacred banners of the 
Mohammedans, waving backwards and forwards, in 
time with the rolling of the dance. My mind went 
to General Gordon, in his last stand at Khartoum, 
against these same fanatics. The followers of the 
Prophet, the followers of the Mahdi, or of Abd-el- 
Krim have one thing in common. Fanaticism is 
the secret of their strength. 

Before we were ready, out of the dusty cloud 
figures had formed into lines outside the palace. 
They moved automatically. Men with drums on 
their backs stood for the drummers to beat the time 
of the dance Priests walked up and down the line, 
urging the dancers on. The dancers gyrated with 
arms limp, their heads swayed backwards and for- 
wards. Faster, ever faster they revolved, until 
hysteria caught them, and then, it seemed, hypno- 
tised epilepsy. They foamed at the mouth, and as 
they reached the climax, priests caught them, and 
threw them almost at our feet. 

I remember that the man at the end went first 
He seemed to have much negro blood in him, 

92 



CARTHAGE THE SANCTUARY OP TANIT 

as he flung forward on the ground he began the most 
terrible contortions and rending of his body. 

Soon he was joined by others who had reached 
ecstasy. The drums beat harder and harder and 
faster and faster, and the chanting rose to a sus- 
tained roar. The fanatics barked like dogs, and 
handsful of broken glass were presented to the de- 
lirious performers by the priests As a famishing 
man would relish a handful of crumbs, the glass 
was chewed by the dancers. After the glass, nails, 
and after the nails the priests gave knives to the 
writhing madmen. The nails and knives were 
thrust through the flesh, and the dancers cried for 
more 

The priests maintained a certain poise throughout 
it all, increasing the frenzy and leading to more 
diabolical exhibition step by step. Even while the 
glass was being chewed, and the nails and knives 
were thrust into the living bodies of the zealots, the 
priests procured masses of live scorpions and plied 
the dancers with them They might have been 
shrimps, so eagerly were they devoured. 

Then the dancing became so devilishly possessed 
that the scene was simply a storm of dust and motion 

I was by this time almost as delirious as the 
dancers. Prince de Waldeck, who was filming the 
scene turned a white face to me and said "I can't go 



on" 



For myself , I could imagine nothing but the return 
of Baal Tamt lived in those moments. 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Yet there was no blood The dancers were before 
me with their cheeks and legs and bodies pierced 
by nails and knives I saw one man snap like a 
mad dog at the ankles of a passing priest. Men on 
the ground writhed and rolled through murderous 
cactus. 

Yet they seemed to come to no harm. The knives 
were still there, and the glass still being chewed when 
I left. I could stand no more 

In any event, we were forced to make a hurried 
exit The Aissaouas had seen us, and in the rage 
of their frenzy charged at the company surrounding 
us, trying to lay hands on the infidels. We escaped 
through the gardens, but I was a wreck for three 
days after the sight 

Fanaticism is hereditary with these people. We, 
digging in the earth, are finding the first traces of 
its intensity. We have only unearthed part of the 
temple as yet, and have not found the actual image 
of the goddess, which must have been of gigantic 
size. Perhaps it will never be discovered, for what 
we have unearthed makes us certain that the temple 
suffered, in common with the rest of the city, from 
the fires lit by the Romans. 

In the ruins we have found a layer of ashes, which 
seems to be the remains of the superstructures of 
the city. In the temple, beneath this layer of ashes, 
lay a misshapen mass of bronze that had been fused 
by fire 

Tanit ruled Carthage and her destinies, but she 

94 



CARTHAGE. THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

was held in abomination by the people of surround- 
ing countries. Her abominations are recorded by 
many historians. They are cursed by the prophets 
of the scriptures. Diodorus Siculus tells of three 
hundred sacrifices being offered at one ceremony. 

One of the most unusual terms of peace ever 
recorded is surely that made by Gelon of Syracuse 
on behalf of the Greeks At Himera he defeated 
three hundred thousand Carthaginians, and de- 
manded one single condition; that the people of 
Carthage should abolish the sacrifice of little chil- 
dren, and the eating of little dogs! 

The Romans, when their turn came, finding that 
commands were not sufficient to stop the practice, 
hanged the priests on the trees of their own sacred 
grove, to serve as an object lesson, and to drive home 
the decree that human sacrifices should no longer 
be offered. 

The Carthaginians themselves were not above 
duping the goddess. She commanded, through her 
priests, that no substitute should be offered, prefer- 
ing first-born, and if possible, only, children of proud 
families. But the proud families managed, some- 
times, to smuggle in the children of their slaves. 
Traditional history says that one of those who owes 
his life to this subterfuge was none other than Han- 
nibal himself, who was represented at the sacrifice 
by proxy 

The Romans built over part of the ground of the 
Temple ruins, so that thanks to them we have in one 

95 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

place a Phoenician museum actually in situ We 
Lave been able to preserve a vertical section of the 
earth, exposed, but guarded against the molelike 
Arabs and other people of acquisitive tendencies 
Here, at any future date scientists may come, and 
check their theories by comparison with things as 
they are found. 

We excavated, working downwards of course, 
first what appears to be the Roman Temple of Saturn, 
built over the Punic ruin below. It was called so 
because we found a votive inscription in the debris 
of the ruined walls bearing the name of Baal Saturn 

The Romans had built there, but had disturbed 
the religious area very little, for they too were a 
superstitious people. 

Under these walls were the first layer of Punic 
remains. This stratum is nearly six feet deep, and 
we found excavation very difficult, because water 
from what appears to be a hidden spring, constantly 
seeped in. We were able to rescue, however, vases 
of the most delicate workmanship, of graceful tulip 
form. In the vases were found exquisite amulets of 
the Egyptian deities, mingled with the bones and 
ashes of little children who had been sacrificed. 

Below this we found a very important silex of the 
Neolithic age, an important find, showing that the 
peninsula of Carthage may have been a home of pre- 
historic man. 

In the Punic strata, besides the items already 
mentioned, were found rough stones, placed in the 

96 



CARTHAGE THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

form of small megahthie menhirs (giving the im- 
pression of a miniature Stonehenge), in which, of 
course, North Africa is very rich There is a hint 
here, that the excavation of Carthage may even 
throw light on the mystery of the dolmens. 

People who have made voyages so that thereafter 
they may write books, more for the sake of writing 
than for the accuracy of information conveyed, have 
rushed home to say "There is nothing to find at 
Carthage. " This is, of course, where they who know 
differ from those who neither know nor are teachable. 

At Tanit we found these four separate levels, each 
of a different age, each with a new story We found 
prehistoric relics. Above them, we found vases and 
stones which, while treasures in themselves and con- 
taining other treasures, told of probable Eygptian 
influence of the people of the peninsula. These 
vases contained real treasures of jewels, gold leaves, 
ivory masks, gold ornaments, amulets with the heads 
of jackals and "the eye of Osiris, 55 the god Bes, and 
the Phoenician god Moloch, and the sacred triangle 
of Tanit. 

Above them, in turn, were altars still speaking of 
Egypt, in obelisk form, and amulets composed of the 
Egyptian pantheon rested in the urns surrounding 
the altars. 

Still higher were purely Punic specimens, among 
which are some steles in a stone of very fine grain, 
whose designs and workmanship are varied and 
craftsmanlike. One was a finely sculptured figure of 

97 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

a priest with his hands uplifted to his face On 
another a priest held a child prior to sacrifice. 

Abbe Chabot, who is one of the foremost authori- 
ties on the Libyan and Phoenician languages, im- 
mediately took a "squeeze" or impression, of the 
inscription, and announced a new form of Punic 
caligraphy. 

It is interesting to see the Abbe take a "squeeze" 
into his hands, and to hear him read off the message 
it contains, just as though he were reading the morn- 
ing paper. 

In this particular case he read an uncomfortable 
message for excavators. 

Whoever overthrows this stone shall be shattered by 

Baal. 

Within a few moments we had another curse lev- 
elled at us. The Abbe was reading off a malediction 
of Tanit, addressed to "the violators of the sacred 
silence of the area of the Temple of Taiiit." 

Here too, we found literally hundreds of lamps, 
which spoke of the nocturnal scenes at the feasts of 
the goddess. Babies' bottles, even babies' toys, 
Punic coins, the silent testimony of grim ashes, 
and a great variety of pottery were around the 
altars. 

The altars are worth special mention. They stand 
in close formation in the temple, and under them 
are the sacred urns. They were covered with painted 



CARTHAGE THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

stucco, and several have been recovered absolutely 
unblemished, with the colours still showing after 
twenty-seven centuries They range from one to 
five feet in height, and are made of sandstone from 
the quarries at Cape Bon, across the gulf of Tunis. 
Many take the shape of the "betel'* stone, more have 
the shape of a mummy standing between columns 
On others are the "triangle of Tanit " Others bear- 
ing the lozenge, the disc, the crescent, and replicas 
of temples, with steps, are quite common 

Yet there is nothing to find in Carthage 

Would that the man who said that had been at 
work m Carthage. Particularly I should have liked 
to have had him there when we discovered the 
"curse stone " 

I am no more superstitious than any average man, 
perhaps less than most excavators, but I can never 
look back on the discovery of that stone without 
some shudder chilling me 

First, and perhaps foolishly, our Punic scholar 
read off the curse, and some enterprising individual 
translated it to our awestruck, but inspired, Arab 
foreman, and he told the men. They promptly 
struck. 

Your true Arab dearly loves a strike. It saves 
him working, at least for a little while. 

These labourers, who stood by and listened, 
promptly hung their picks and shovels over their 
shoulders and, with affronted dignity, marched away 

"Discover curse stone/ 9 they said, "One franc a 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

day more." Rapid reasoning, but effective argu- 
ment. 

Off they trooped until they got their franc. One 
is always having arguments which end with mon- 
otonous regularity "One franc a day more!'* 

One wakes on St. Patrick's day. Before the day 
is over, our Arabs steal away, having said "one 
franc a day more." As a matter of fact they struck 
because they were watched too closely, and had no 
chance to steal relics. So they demanded to be 
paid for loss of perquisites. 

Or, the Arabs hear that someone else is paying a 
higher rate. It may be a hundred miles away that 
the trouble originates, but up they come, "one franc 
a day more " 

They are really children, but cunning, astute, self- 
willed children, and in the matter of petty bargain- 
ing they are fit descendants of the people whose 
ruined city they help us to uncover 

Occasionally they turn nasty, and murder is not 
unknown. Not by any means. 

But, to go back to the curse stone Before the 
day was ended, the curator of the Tamt museum, 
while walking along the rim of the top of the ex- 
cavation slipped. He had no foothold, and went 
over the edge. He dropped to the bottom of the 
excavations and knocked himself unconscious, with 
a terrible gash in his head, on the very stone that 
cursed us. 

The first day he was up again, he was taking light 

100 



CARTHAGE: THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

duty cataloguing specimens in the museum, and a 
bust of the goddess Tanit fell on him from a top 
shelf, and put a gash in the other side of his head 
Thereafter there was at least one of our number who 
half -respected the potency of the ancient maledic- 
tion. 

When he recovered consciousness for the second 
time, he feebly murmured "I've had enough of 
Tanit, damn iV" 

Subsequent to the discovery of the Temple of 
Tanit, we made another ghastly find, illustrative of 
the eventualities that have to be met in excavation 
It has been said previously that we are often coming 
into some sort of conflict with the freebooters, those 
amateur excavators whose sole purpose is the re- 
covery of specimens for sale. There are many who 
follow this pursuit, and we have been confronted 
by them on more than one occasion, sometimes with 
guns, sometimes with cudgels. If a good oppor- 
tunity offered, I have not the slightest doubt that 
the people of the locality, who think that we are 
robbing them of the chance to plunder, would deal 
swiftly with us, and not to our benefit. 

One day there was found the mutilated body of a 
Tunisian woman in the excavations. Her hands were 
dismembered, the vandal had wanted her rings and 
bracelets. It is supposed, though the crime was 
never solved, that a local treasure hunter was re- 
sponsible, having need of money to carry forward his 
private enterprise in search of the riches of the tombs. 

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DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

The plunderers are acute, and quick to seize the 
immediate spoils In most of the tombs that stand 
in museums, relics of the past, it will be observed 
that a corner of the, massive monolith that serves 
as the lid of the tomb has been broken off. This in 
itself is no mean accomplishment, and is the ever 
recurring sign, easily recognised, of the looter, 
whether of this generation or of generations that 
recede into the dim distance, back to the time when 
the dead were first laid into the earth. 

The marauders knew what archaeology has since 
discovered, that the treasures contained in the tombs 
were generally placed near the head, and they 
snapped off a chunk of stone, so that they might 
insert a hand and arm, and grope around inside, 
to obtain the jewels and coins that were buried with 
the dead. 

The Arabs are always awake to any new venture 
that is to be undertaken, and in the silence of the 
night will try to steal a march on the official ex- 
cavators. We look with intense suspicion on any 
newly turned earth that we see, wherever we may 
see it Newly turned earth means Arab, and the 
Arabs seldom work where it is not profitable We 
found them, once, tunnelling away on the other side 
of excavations we were making on the Hill of Juno 
For long we have used them as our signposts They 
are prone to return the compliment 1 

They simply gouge out a hole big enough for a 
man to squeeze through, then, like ferrets, they work 

102 



CARTHAGE THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

rapidly and silently Before we know it, right under 
our noses, we are frequently robbed of contributions 
to science, so that they may lay hold on contribu- 
tions to their purse 

Treasure of course, really valuable treasure, is to 
be found. I have seen several great urns of gold 
coins that were recovered, the contents of which 
must have been worth many millions of francs. 

Treasure hunting means jealousy, and jealousy 
quickly leads to murder The fate of the Marquis 
Puisaye d'Anselm's expedition is a graphic case in 
point. For years the story has been current that 
subterranean passages exist between Carthage and 
Tunis, under the lake. The beginning of the passage 
was discovered, leading from the exact site of the 
famous Temple of Eshmoun, whose treasure, as- 
sociated with the treasure of Dido, was supposed to 
have been hidden in the rock hill that towers over 
the city, and approached by the subterranean pass- 
age 

The Marquis d'Anselm organised an expedition 
which, I believe, was financed by an incorporated 
company, for the recovery of this treasure. The 
attempt ended in disaster, though it is reported that 
the treasure was located. Several stories of the 
tragedy are told, but it seems most probable that 
the explorers were deliberately murdered by the 
Arabs, to prevent the treasure being taken away 
It is generally believed that the Arabs bored through 
the walls of the tunnel, and let in the waters of the 

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DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

lake The Arabs, doubtless, were afraid that the 
loot would escape them, and tried to make sure of 
a chance to dig it out, later, for themselves 

The Arabs in many ways contrive to hinder the 
work of our excavation, though it is not necessarily 
our own workers who are the culprits. 

Once, I remember being taken across the fields of 
Carthage by a most mysterious person, who acted 
in a very nervous way, looking round every few 
yards to see if we were being followed I was led to 
a small square shaft in the ground. It was the site 
of Arab digging, and of a most profitable find. The 
hole had been made by independent excavators, and 
the result, with some of the treasure, communicated 
to a local dealer in antiques. He in turn communi- 
cated it to others. One of "the others " was a naval 
officer, whose ship was anchored in the bay, and 
he came ashore with a companion in the night, and 
set to work. From the honeycomb of tombs to 
which the shaft led, priceless crystals were removed 
It is said that, among other things, the naval officer 
carried away a crystal replica of the acropolis of 
Carthage, 

Other trophies, which were still in the possession 
of the dealer, were ultimately secured at a tremen- 
dous price by a guest of mine, and are finally destined 
for a great American museum 

I have investigated the tombs, as far as is possible 
without further excavation, and found many of 
them rifled They are undoubtedly Phoenician, and 

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CARTHAGE: THE SANCTUARY OF TANIT 

as certainly there are other terraces of tombs to be 
uncovered. For the authenticity of the site I can 
vouch, and in the shop of the dealer, carefully 
guarded, I have seen some of the priceless crystals, 
now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. 

And still some people say that there is nothing 
worth finding to be uncovered at Carthage. 

Consult my Arab boys on that point! When we 
were digging away one day I noticed an Arab put- 
ting things into his mouth. The mouth of an Arab 
is of enormous capacity. We watched this youth 
for a while, and then turned bun upside down, and 
persuaded him to cough. The result of that excava- 
tion has never been surpassed, even by a votive urn 
There were coins and jewels and rings and amulets; 
treasures galore. 

We let him go then, and the next day a marble 
column was missing. 



105 



CHAPTER VII 

CARTHAGE THE HILL OF JUNO 

THE Hill of Juno is another of the important ex- 
cavations made in the early years of the work at 
Carthage. 

This is the hill opposite the acropolis of Carthage, 
from which Scipio is reputed to have witnessed the 
destruction of the city, and to have wept over the 
spectacle of desolation. After three years siege, and 
the final onslaught that reduced Carthage and laid 
it open to the holocaust, the Romans poured through 
the streets on their incendiary mission. Fighting 
through the thoroughfares, and it was a city designed 
for terrific street fighting, with houses seven storeys 
high, the invaders came over the dead bodies of 
the heroic defenders who had faced famine, pestil- 
enge, and the weapons of their conquerers. Flames 
followed them, lighting the skies as never beacon 
shone to guide the fleets to harbour 

Up to the Temple of Eshmoun they came, where 
fifty thousand Carthaginians had taken their last 
stand Here the last remnants of the densely popu- 
lated city sought the protection of their remaining 

106 



CARTHAGE THE HILL OF JUNO 

gods Tamt had already yielded to the Romans, 
her temple lay in rums 

Towards the last, Hasdrubal, commander of the 
Carthaginians, turned traitor, and threw himself at 
the feet of Scipio, pleading for his life. His wife 
was of sterner stuff, and appearing on the roof of 
the temple, her children with her, addressed the 
victor: 

To you, noble Roman, I ascribe no blame. You have 
fought, under the rules of war, and nobly conquered 
in. the name of Rome, but for that base fellow who has 
betrayed the cause of his people, there is nothing but 
malediction to fall on his head Soon may he grace your 
chariot, in chains, through the streets of Rome, and end in 
misery' 

Immediately thereafter, taking her two children 
in her arms, and clasping them to her bosom, she 
showed them to the victorious Roman and the de- 
based Carthaginian, and leapt into the flames. So 
died the last heroic member of the mighty empire 
The final chapter of the great drama of the Mediter- 
ranean was finished. 

At this site, acting on the suggestion of Renault, 
we started the excavation of the little Christian 
church that had been erected, and here I got my first 
real thrill of discovery, finding the first objects that 
were the result of my own work as an excavator. 
The specimens were lamps, of early Christian manu- 

107 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

facture. It was my first responsible piece of work, 
and though the thrill has become somewhat of a 
habit since then, I shall, I hope, always retain the 
memory of the feeling that came over me as I held 
the first relic in my hands 

From there we went to another site on the hill- 
side above, a spot which Renault had also mentioned 
We worked for a while in small groups a little apart, 
and I was up to my eyes in a pit, very dirty, but 
considerably urged, for things were being unearthed 
every moment, when an Arab, more excited (if that 
were possible) than I was, dashed at me, crying 
"Found Fish' Found Fish'" 

He failed to move me. I was busy, so I said to 
him "All right! Keep your fish, or throw it away " 
I thought he had found a fish. 

A moment or two later, having stood away till 
my anger had subsided, he came back at me. 

"Found fish! Found fish'" 

He was so insistent that I had to follow him for 
his very importunity's sake, and I too was infected 
when I saw what manner of fish he meant. There, 
at the bottom of a pit three yards deep, I saw the 
fish SL gleaming bit of mosaic, of superb workman- 
ship 

Within two minutes we had everybody at work 
on the site Pere Delattre, hearing the news, came 
flying over the hillside like an angry prophet, his 
robes flying in the wind, and his tremendous beard 
waving like a flag, to see what we had discovered. 

108 



CARTHAGE: THE HILL OF JUNO 

We had come upon our first example of ancient 
art. And what an example f It was the first one 
I had ever seen being uncovered Inch by inch, 
at what seemed to be a terribly slow rate, the earth 
was removed from the surface. We were leashed 
by science that day, so that the collar cut into our 
necks. How we strained! How we wished that 
there were only one thing to think of, the mosaic. 
But the earth we were removing was precious. It 
had to be taken away and sifted and sorted for other 
objects, and they had to be recorded and the neces- 
sary but tedious, measurements taken. We were 
at it till late into the night, by torchlight, and design 
after design was revealed. There were garlands of 
flowers, baskets of fruit, and every kind of wild game. 
Like a majestic carpet, the floor of an old banqueting 
hall was unrolled before us. As each new section 
was uncovered we threw a pail of water over it, 
and the coloured marble shone like a collection of 
glittering precious stones in the glare of our torches. 

These mosaics are the coloured pictures of the 
history books of Carthage. They tell us much of 
the civilisation and habits of the people. If ever 
stones spoke, these are the stones. This particular 
mansion belonged to the Romans who had followed 
the Carthaginians, and had, in turn, endowed the 
city with a prosperity and affluence second only to 
Rome and the Carthage it displaced. 

We know the modes and fashions of the period 
from the mosaics. They are as interpretative as any 

109 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

photograph could be. Here are pictures of their 
sports, their occupations, their athletic and other 
games, their home life, their horse races, gladiatorial 
shows, and their campaigns. 

In one room we uncovered a mosaic, intact, de- 
picting, a hunting scene. It remains as beautiful as 
the rarest tapestry, with a fidelity to form, and a 
wealth of detail that is amazing. The picture shows 
a boar trying to escape from dogs and hunters It 
taught us something new about ancient hunting 
The hounds are partly clothed in armour, and are 
driving the boar to the nets held by beaters. The 
hunters bring up the rear of the chase- 
One room led to another, and we found many 
mosaics. Also we found frescoed walls, which, 
though not so well preserved as the floors, yet showed 
that the Romans painted their walls to simulate 
marble, with graining and veining finely imitated, 
much as is done to-day. 

In some places, as would be expected, we found 
the scribbling of naughty boys, who had left the 
usual contribution of boys to walls, when there is 
a crayon handy. Elsewhere we found where some- 
body had been checking over his accounts, and had 
totalled them up on the first convenient place, in 
this instance the wall. There are multitudinous 
scrawlings, which range from the humorous to the 
obscene. 

Sometimes we find inscriptions on parchment as we 
excavate, and by now we know that the inscription 

110 



CARTHAGE. THE HILL OF JUNO 

fades as quickly as an unfixed photographic print. 
So we copy those inscriptions with the utmost rapid- 
ity Once, I am sorry to say, we failed to do so, and 
the next morning there was no inscription to copy. 

The Abbe Chabot mentioned that incident when 
he was lecturing to the Academie, and he was later 
somewhat taken to task by a fellow scientist for not 
having made a copy at once. Now we never omit 
the precaution. 

Singularly enough, we once found the reverse of 
that when we were preparing an excavated wall. 
It had been papered with old parchments, and when 
we removed the parchment we found that on the 
plaster wall there was the "carbon copy" of the mes- 
sages the parchments carried. 

We pushed ahead with the work on the Hill of 
Juno, and in one of the rooms found a passage to 
the rock wall of the hillside. There were steps lead- 
ing to the wall, which sent old Hassan, our foreman, 
into paroxysms of joy. 

"Tomb ! Tomb < " he yelled. "Punic tomb ! " 

I was again highly sceptical, I remember. 

"Ung chose! Ting chose!' 5 he insisted, growing 
more excited every second, screaming things that 
meant there would be many things to discover there. 
He was in full cry, and as hot on the scent as the dogs 
we had seen on the mosaic floor close by. 

He did not fail us, but put my scepticism to shame. 
These Arabs have a very practical knowledge of 
archaeology. It is not essentially scientific, but it 

111 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

has a very clear eye to the main chance. Punic 
tombs mean gold rings, and jewels, small loot that 
can be secreted and smuggled to the dealers. Many 
a time we have bought back our own finds from the 
dealers, well knowing that they are ours, but having 
to pay good money for them again. 

Hassan was so jealous of his discovery that he 
would permit none but himself to excavate the 
passage. All other work was suspended. The Arabs 
crowded round, almost in tears, but really relishing 
the opportunity to pursue their favourite occupa- 
tion, which is to sit by and watch other people 
working. I remember, when I tried to get them 
back to work their answer was to the effect that the 
thing simply wasn't done when a Punic tomb was 
discovered. 

For three hours Hassan wormed his way, like a 
human mole, into the clay, with only his feet stick- 
ing out of the soil. How he breathed baffles me, 
but at last we heard a muffled, but triumphant yell 
from the bowels of the earth, and the toes we could 
see wriggled until they got purchase to lever their 
owner back to life and light again. He backed out 
of the burrow, like a ferret in reverse gear, covered 
with mud, and holding in his hand a tiny bit of 
rotted wood. 

I was unimpressed, but Hassan trembled like an 
aspen in his excitement. 

" Coffin Coffin!' 5 he screamed 

I crept in, myself, and looked around. All that 

112 



CAETHAGE: THE HILL OF JUNO 

my torch lit up was a thin outline of wood in the 
clay, but it was enough for the moment. 

We dug away with our knives, in turn, each one 
working until he was either almost suffocated, or 
quite exhausted. We kept constant relays going, 
and at last we discovered a beautifully graceful piece 
of pottery lying near a crumbled skull. 

That was our first Punic tomb, though Pre De- 
lattre had, of course discovered many before us. 

What we had discovered, however, was important. 
It disclosed a new necropolis on the Hill of Juno, 
dating from the very foundation of Carthage. 

Above our workings was the site where Scipio stood, 
and from which spot he had cursed Carthage. The 
text occupies some fifty lines in the original text of 
Appian of Alexandria, and, since it has done duty 
for many cities, including Corinth, it may be worth 
while to give a precis of it 

Scipio, you will remember, sent a laconic message 
to Rome. "I have Carthage. What shall I do with 
it?" 

The answer was sent, equally laconic, "Curse it ? " 
and Scipio, who seems never to have done things by 
halves, responded with this malediction over the 
place 

God of Death and War, bring infernal terrors into this 
cursed city of Carthage, and against its armies and its 
people. 

We curse with the utmost might of our being this peo- 
ple and this army We curse whoever occupied these 

113 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

palaces, whoever worked in these fields, whoever lived 
upon this soil! We implore that they may be deprived 
for evermore of light from above. 

Let eternal silence and desolation remain here 
Cursed be they who return! Doubly cursed be those 
who try to resurrect these ruins 

That curse. It has its significance for all who 
work there. I remember Renault's last words* 
"The curse of Scipio has . . ." 

When we opened the very next tomb, the Arabs 
thought it was working! I had been into the tomb, 
and had investigated it, temporarily. Then I came 
out again and took a breath or two before carrying 
the investigations further. Above the entrance was 
a massive slab of masonry that looked as though it 
was absolutely immovable. I suppose, however, 
that we had loosened the supporting earth, and had 
not taken as many precautions as we are now in the 
habit of taking. 

On the next journey, excited at a find I had un- 
earthed, I rushed back to the people waiting out- 
side. Almost simultaneously, the tremendous slab 
dropped with a crashing explosion, like a small 
bomb, and cut me off from the tomb. It almost 
cut me off from any further excavations too! It 
missed me by tlie fraction of a second, and the 
fraction of an inch. If I had been standing there, 
the rock would have gone through ine like butter 

It was on the Hill of Juno that we discovered the 
Roman palace, whose rooms on the ground floor 

114 



CARTHAGE. THE HILL OF JUNO 

numbered seven The palace was probably several 
storeys high, since we know that the Phoenician 
houses were frequently on seven floors. 

The palace generally brought to mind the villa 
at Bulla Regia which was excavated by Dr Carton, 
and gave us light on the entirely adequate domestic 
arrangements of the Romans. At Bulla Regia, Dr. 
Carton unearthed a complete system of central 
heating, which was carried from the hot baths to 
the private villas of those citizens who were rich 
enough to afford the luxury. From the Boiler room, 
or "caldarium" of the baths, water, boiling hot, 
was delivered to the private houses, and passed 
through similar lead pipes round the rooms, and to 
the private bath of the citizen 

I suppose that modern civilisation really could 
teach these ancient hedonists very little indeed. 

Underneath the Roman villa, in a subterranean 
passage, we found quantities of pots and pans, all 
of terra-cotta, with the bases burned, as they came 
from the fire There were strainers too, and spoons 
and knives. 

It must have been a Roman kitchen. Possibly 
we found the cook, too, for a woman's skeleton lay 
among the debris of the pots, and, when by chance 
the curator of the museum, Mr. Groseille, tipped up 
a slab of stone, we found her savings near the fuel. 
There were arrayed eighty coins, neatly arranged, 
so that she could see exactly how rich she was. 
What dreams imagination weaves. Perhaps her 

115 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

dream was of freedom, for the price of which she 
saved, or even she might have been saving to go to 
her husband with a respectable dot. 

The bricks of the building were stamped with the 
seal of the brickyard, and by this means Pere Delattre 
was able to tell us its date: the first century A D 
The bricks correspond with those of a house on the 
Appian way, a fact also verified by Pere Delattre, 
They probably had a Roman architect for the build- 
ing, brought over by people who, fired by Virgil's 
famous description of the wonders of the city, and 
Caesar's exhortation to refound it, had settled there. 

Near the palace on the hill, we unearthed what 
must have been the site of a great battle in later 
days, for we came across a burial ground of the 
Vandals, where the corpses were as thickly clustered 
as on the fields of France in 1914-1918 With them 
were their swords and other weapons, and a multi- 
tude of lamps, of distinctive Vandal design. I have 
said before that the history of Carthage could be 
written from the lamps we unearth. 

Near the palace fortune favoured us, and we ex- 
cavated a considerable number of Roman cisterns, 
which undoubtedly have a significant historical value. 
We knew that we were excavating not very far from 
the scene of the great debate between St Augustine 
and the Donatists, whose arguments took place in 
the year 411 A D in the baths of Gargilius. The 
terrific crises of the Christian Church was fought 
out between some five hundred representatives, two 

116 



CARTHAGE: THE HILL OF JUNO 

hundred and sixty Christian bishops, and two hun- 
dred and forty Donatists. For three days, in the 
Baths of Gargilius, the controversy raged, and 
Augustine's oratory and erudition ultimately pre- 
vailed. Had it not been for him, it is safe to say 
that the Christian Church as we know it to-day, 
would not have persisted. But he did prevail, and 
we were working on the land near to the site of this 
encounter. Some day, perhaps we shall be so for- 
tunate as to uncover more intimate relics, but so 
far we have to be content with the discovery of the 
cisterns which, apparently, may have served for the 
baths prior to their abandonment. The cisterns 
that we have excavated are of enormous extent, and 
may have been the water supply for these baths. 
In addition to the cisterns, we found the aqueduct 
which leads from them to the great aqueduct, which 
was the source of supply of the water of the city. 

There is still a useful quantity of cool, fresh water 
in the cistern, and perhaps it is not out of place to 
mention that the younger members, and occasionally 
the older members of the excavation party, used the 
cisterns as the "old swimming hole." They are 
extremely welcome after a day's work in the ruins. 

In the course of our excavations, on the hill, we 
have been able to reconstruct, for the benefit of 
tourists and the advancement of knowledge, a very 
complete museum of Carthaginian life throughout 
the centuries. We have recovered, and preserved, 
tombs of all the succeeding inhabitants. Here, in 

117 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

the stillness of death, is the history of Carthage, 
from the time of prehistoric man 

Fully restored, and carefully preserved are the 
tombs of man before he was civilised. Beside him 
lie, ]ust as they were laid into the earth, the remains 
of Phoenicians, Romans, early Christians, Vandals, 
Byzantines and Saracens, so that within a few mo- 
ments the visitor, who has little leisure and less 
opportunity, may appreciate the progress of the 
isthmus The tombs lie there as we discovered them, 
and a significant tale they tell. 

This area is actually the site of our headquarters 
on the field. We have had electric light installed 
here, carrying it from Tunis, sixteen kilometres away, 
and, so far as is possible, we have made the site 
worth visiting, even from the standpoint of the 
searcher after beauty. 

Up the hillside we have made paths, with steps 
to cover the more difficult approaches, and now, 
through paths that are lined with flowers, the tourist 
can see history more graphic than can be written. 
Often we have had nearly a thousand people in the 
day to see what we have done, and are doing. 

Other important fields of excavation in and around 
Carthage include the tremendous edifices erected by 
the Romans. 

"By the Romans?" perhaps you say, remembering 
Scipio's curse. The Romans respected the curse, 
but narrowly. Their settlement touched the cursed 
site, but perhaps never invaded it. We find their 

118 



CARTHAGE. THE HILL OF JUNO 

structures just outside the city that must have been 
the purely Phoenician settlement Their buildings 
cover the necropoli, which were always outside the 
city proper in Punic times. So Scipio is evaded, and 
the curse avoided. 

Chief among the discoveries dating from the 
Roman period, is the Amphitheatre, which was dis- 
covered by Pere Delattre, and which was restored 
under our joint direction. This edifice is of con- 
siderable size, and must have enjoyed a great repute 
in Rome. It was one floor higher than the Colosseum 
at Rome. The walls are now reconstructed, and 
Cardinal Lavigerie has erected a Marble Cross and 
a chapel in honour of the countless martyrs who, 
for the sake of their faith, suffered and died here. 

A grim chapter of Christian history is contained 
in these reconstructed walls. Here the Vandal Gen- 
seric had the Christian bishops who were sent out 
from the city to intercede with him, trampled to 
death. Here, too, the martyrs were fed to the 
beasts, while the populace sat, amused and hilar- 
ious, in the serried tiers, watching their torment; a 
true Carthaginian holiday. 

The area of the amphitheatre is vast. Between 
sixty and eighty thousand people could be accom- 
modated. The spectacle is easily imagined, for we 
have discovered the cages, with their trap doors, 
which held the ravenous beasts, deprived of food 
that they might be the more ferocious, before they 
were loosed upon the martyrs. 

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DIGGING FOE LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Here Saints Felicitas and Perpetua were gored to 
death by a wild cow, and here a buffoon was engaged 
in the pleasant pursuit, for the delectation of the 
unsatiated Romans, of prancing among the uncon- 
scious Christians with a red hot iron, to see if the 
searing metal would stir them to new activity, or 
if they were really dead. What roars of laughter, 
what obscene jests were flung, from safety, to the 
tortured victims is told by Tertullian and Augustine. 

The Romans were enthusiastic theatre-goers. 
They loved a spectacle dearly. Carthage possessed, 
in addition to the amphitheatre, a circus, a stadium, 
and a hippodrome. 

We have already prospected the Circus, which 
measures seven hundred and forty yards by three 
hundred and fifty yards, and had accommodation for 
three hundred thousand people. 

Three hundred thousand people ! They must have 
catered for the whole of the free population of the 
city at one sitting! One of our next tasks is to 
excavate this site, which lies between the amphi- 
theatre and the Temple of Tanit. All outside the 
walls~of the Punic City. All escaping the curse. 

There must have been magnificent spectacles 
there. The way to the hearts of the populace was 
the provision of a spectacle. Graft was easy then. 
A politician, wishing to be sure of a following, pro- 
vided the cost of a performance in the amphitheatre, 
and, as one would say in America, so he made him- 
self solid I am not sure whether they had the 

120 



CARTHAGE. THE HILL OF JUNO 

equivalent of the vernacular, but it is safe to say 
that they had, for much that we have recovered 
leads us to believe that humanity changes slowly 
or as William Watson put it, "by how slow degrees!" 

The American Partisan of sports, the "fan/ 5 had 
his exact counterpart in Carthage, but his name 
was not worthy of abbreviation. He was indeed a 
fanatic. And he had little to learn from his later 
compeer. 

Not even the Hippodrome of New York offered 
greater spectacles. We have discovered the sluices 
and the canal to the sea, which provided the water 
for the transformation of the arena into a naval 
stage. Here the Romans produced their naval bat- 
tles in miniature, while the spectators cheered. We 
know exactly how these spectacles, and the arena 
and amphitheatre appeared* for there has been un- 
earthed a mosaic, which is now in the museum at 
Tunis, which gives to the minutest detail all the 
things we need to know, for the ultimate recon- 
struction of the building. 

What a chapter of popular history this represents, 
coupled with the other items of our collection. We 
can reconstruct, from our specimens and from the 
verbal records of the historians, the life of Carthage 
almost as exactly as though we had a motion picture 
taken at the time, and on the spot. 

How they worshipped sport! Pere Delattre ex- 
cavated the house that was given to their popular 
idol, Scorpianus. It was the palace of the ancient 

1*1 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Dempsey, except that he was their champion char- 
ioteer. We have also excavated the tomb of a 
ballet dancer from the Theatre. Item by item we 
are learning every detail of the fashionable life of 
the city. 

In the excavations we have discovered the re- 
served seats that belonged to the magistrates and 
the plutocrats. Their names are carved into the 
seats lest some interloper should come and usurp 
them. 

Probably the chariot races ranked next to the 
slaughter of the Christians as a popular sport From 
the number of indications we have found, I should 
judge that these contests were frequent, and that 
the teams visited the various cities in turn. The 
champions of TJtica were the nearest rivals to those 
of Carthage, and how dearly they loved each other r 

The teams were distinguished, much in the modern 
fashion, by the colours they wore and we have record 
of teams whose colours were Green, Red, Blue and 
White. The prize money was no inconsiderable 
item, and not infrequently amounted to $70,000 for 
a day's contest. The statesmen of the period, in- 
cidentally, felt much as modern statesmen do, when 
they compare their remuneration with professional 
sportsmen. One protested, and his protest has a 
familiar ring, that Scorpianus received three bags 
of gold for a day's work, while he, poor man, re- 
ceived less for the total of his year's service to the 
State. 



CARTHAGE. THE HILL OF JUNO 

The partisans organised their campaigns carefully. 
The main idea was to "get the goat" of the other 
fellow, just as the "bleachers" try it in modern 
ways. Only, if anything, they did it more thor- 
oughly. In the humorous section of the Lavigerie 
museum is a multitude of "maledictions/* which the 
various factions scattered broadcast among the con- 
testants. They are in lead, thin sheets of inscribed 
metal, fortunately for us, and are in excellent preser- 
vation. There would be parchment duplicates, doubt- 
less, but they have gone and are not to be found. 
We can be content with the specimens we have. 

When TJtica came to Carthage, Carthage was de- 
termined that no effort should be spared to put 
TJtica off its game. So we have maledictions hurled 
this way and that against the visitors. These "goat 
getters" knew their way about. Their maledic- 
tions were definite, very much to the point. 

"May the chariot of the Blues have a wheel come 
off at the third corner!" says one leaf of lead. It is 
worth noticing, from a psychological point of view 
at least. The suggestion is there, to carry fear into 
the heart of a superstitious individual. The place 
where the fans wanted the accident to happen is 
stated. Possibly it was the point where a good view 
of the catastrophe could be obtained. 

"May the champion of the Blues be taken with 
cramp in the middle of the race!" 

"May his horses be seized, so that they cannot 
start, cannot bound, cannot run!" 

123 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

And, finally, "May he suffocate the night before 
the race '" 

Truly modern in outlook. And truly modern in 
popular reaction. Tertulhan recounts the battle of 
the fans. Excitement ran high, there were favour- 
ites to cheer, there were rivals to discourage. 

On one occasion the visitors were driven to the 
top tiers of the amphitheatre, and there a pitched 
battle took place, all arising from a love of sport. 
How essentially human these Romans were. 

For the theatre, too, every provision was made. 
There were travelling troupes in those days, who 
made their "one night stand/ 5 And doubtless there 
were "stars" and barnstormers, idols and idlers. 

Everything was done in approved style. The 
Romans anticipated our magazine programme, which 
was again, either of thin sheets of lead, or of parch- 
ment The lead programmes have survived, and 
give an account of the performance of the day, and 
of following attractions. Interspersed were jokes 
and obscenities. The theatre programmes of Car- 
thage are amongst the world's most obscene liter- 
ature. 

Around the walls of the monastery, Pre Delattre 
has a unique collection of the minor pursuits of the 
Romans, the little games they played, perhaps while 
waiting for the spectacles to begin in the arenas 
or on their quiet evenings when there was nothing 
much of interest in the public places 

It may be too much to say that there is the ancient 

124 



CARTHAGE: THE HILL OF JUNO 

equivalent of the cross word puzzle, but one of the 
slabs reminds us of the modern craze. There are 
the squares, to which we are accustomed, and in 
some the letters have been placed, while other spaces 
are blank. It is a game, of course, and not a puzzle, 
for cross words were not done by sculpture! 

Innumerable little round discs have been found, 
some red and some white, which we are convinced 
are checkers The steps of the temples at Dougga 
and at Timgad are worn away, very much as though 
they had been used as a checkerboard. It is im- 
possible not to think of the regulations of a certain 
austere and ancient English university, whose stu- 
dents are still ordered not to "play marbles on the 
steps of the buildings " 

We found multi-coloured marbles, too. They 
could hardly have been anything but the toys of the 
children. They are of white, gold, black, with even 
an inferior quality in granite, identical with the 
marbles of to-day. 

Here is the minor tragedy of excavation. Much 
of the work was done by Pere Delattre, on "ex- 
cavating lease." It was then impossible for him 
to acquire lasting rights to the land, and when ex- 
cavation has been made, the site has had to be filled 
up again. The villa of Scorpianus, presented to 
him by an admiring city, was uncovered, its mag- 
nificence was revealed, with mosaics and frescoed 
walls. Such material as could be taken was removed 
for the national museum, and then the earth was 

125 



DIGGING FOB LOST AFRICAN GODS 

replaced Pere Delattre had only a four months* 
lease But it is safe, as are so many other sites 
which have been filled in again They wait for 
other work, when funds permit 

It is a little disappointing, but that is only one 
of our troubles. A much more irritating thing is 
the real estate boom f 

The speculative builders and gamblers m land 
are apparently determined to raise a new city over 
the site of these old civilisations, and, judging from 
the start that has been made, we shall before long 
be confronted with the need of buying a ** desirable 
modern villa" before we can get at the earth be- 
neath, for the relics of the past. If the real estate 
agent is allowed a free hand, or if we cannot raise 
enough money to forestall him, in a few years Car- 
thage will become a seaside resort. 

It is not entirely a question of preserving only 
the land from their exploitation. The name of Car- 
thage itself may go, for one dealer, richer and per- 
haps more enterprising than the rest, has already 
staked out his suburb, and re-christened it after 
himself. 

He is doing his best to get the name established 
in the minds of the people, and in the deeds of sale 

But he was generous. He offered the use of his 
land for excavation on condition that the name of 
Carthage was changed to shall we say " Smith - 
ville " He is a regular Mr. Babbitt, so perhaps 
we might say, and euphonically, it is nearer the 




.si 



CARTHAGE THE HILL OF JUNO 

Tunisian corruption, Carthage may ultimately be- 
come "Babbittville" 

Science has realised almost too late, that this 
danger exists. Our expedition came in time to pre- 
serve some of the land, particularly that under which 
is believed to lie the Punic Forum and other im- 
portant sites, but other areas of equal interest are 
already gone, and it will need much money and more 
legislation, to expose their treasures to the sight of 
man again. The land which is still undisturbed by 
the builders of "attractive villas," and can be pur- 
chased at a reasonable price, is year by year be- 
coming more restricted. 

Less than twenty years ago, we could have saved 
the whole area intact, and the peninsula might have 
been made into a national reserve, the greatest 
natural museum the world could know, an inter- 
national monument of tremendous interest. 

Then one could go from the fishing village of La 
Goulette, at the southern extremity to the charming 
Arab village of Sidi Bou Said, which is the ancient 
Megara, Phoenician suburb where Hamilcar lived, 
and Salammbo too, without encountering any build- 
ings except a few native huts, the Cathedral and 
missions of the White Fathers and the TVhite Sis- 
ters, and a palace or two belonging to the Beylical 
family. 

It was a great opportunity, but it has escaped the 
attention of everyone, save the real estate people. 

Building operations followed the projection of an 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

electric railway through the Carthage area, and the 
real estate agents saw that rapid transport meant 
rapid profits. There was not even an element of 
risk. A lot at Carthage might be above a mine of 
treasure. The lure must work. It has worked, to 
our sorrow 

That electric railway. It must be unique. Its 
track is ballasted with antiquity. Bits of columns 
from Christian Basilicas and pagan temples, frag- 
ments of cornices and pilasters, even Roman in- 
scriptions are to be picked up between the rails. 

The speculator sees his opportunity Coupled 
with the natural beauty of the site, which is en- 
trancing, is the promise of intrinsic worth under the 
earth. He even capitalises history, and draws on 
classic names haphazard, for suggestive titles. Those 
names' Hamilcar, Salammbo, are now stations on 
an electric railway. Hannibal has not yet appeared, 
but his turn will come. 

Less than a dozen years ago this land could be 
bought for twenty-five centimes a square metre The 
poorest is now worth ten francs. 

And we, unavoidably, play into the hands of our 
enemies. Every treasure we unearth sends up the 
price of land. Tourists by the thousands come 
to Carthage now, where few came before, and where 
there are tourists, the Arab is shrewd enough to 
realise there is money. There are a thousand ways 
of getting money from travellers, and the Arabs 
know them all. 

128 



CARTHAGE. THE HILL OF JUNO 

We hope, however, that the most important of 
the territory may yet be saved, and we are straining 
every nerve to defeat the commercial genius of the 
peninsula, and to preserve the historic values. 



129 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE HOME OP THE EXPEDITION 

THERE is another side of excavation We are not 
always digging, but we are usually either comparing 
notes or planning new fields. Life is as comfortable 
for our off duty hours as we can reasonably make it. 
It is not so festive or elaborate as life in Paris or 
New York, but it has its charm. 

Our home is an old Arab palace at Sidi Bou Said 
and overlooks the plains of Carthage, with the sea 
on either side. The palace is several hundred years 
old, and belonged to a Mohammedan prince. We 
have called it Palais Hamilcar, and have made an 
effort to restore some of the atmosphere of an ancient 
Carthaginian home, which is not so difficult, con- 
sidering the specimens we have around. 

It is supposed to be on the site of Salammbo's 
palace, overlooking the Megara, the suburb of Car- 
thage, and therefore, fortunately for the supersti- 
tious, outside the sphere of Scipio's curse. The 
palace has actually been built over Roman ruins, 
the cisterns of which we still use for our water supply. 

In the gardens cypress trees make a stately avenue 

130 



THE HOME OF THE EXPEDITION 

to the gateway, while bougainvillea, daffodils, prim- 
roses, violets, flowering cactus, cornflowers, poppies 
and lemon trees blossoming in the spring, contrive 
to make a riot of colour commensurate with the 
landscape. 

Our garage also is an old Roman cistern, and there 
is something which occasionally strikes a grotesque 
note in the sight of a palpitating, if ephemeral, Ford, 
chugging up the driveway and disappearing into 
masonry that has stood for centuries. 

In the courtyard, which is an exquisite example 
of Arabian faience, there are ancient marble columns, 
and a fountain plays cheerily. But even here we 
are not free from the thirst for excavation* Pere 
Delattre found a Vandal tomb, in a fine state of 
preservation, and in the tomb an emerald necklace, 
which is now in the museum at Tunis, in company 
with the gem-studded breastplate of the warrior. 
These two items are probably among the finest of 
the collection in the museum. 

Mosaic floors and ruined tombs crop up every- 
where, and, inside the palace we classify and argue 
about them and the results of our work. 

The interior of the palace is very much like a 
school, and life goes on under routine that is also 
reminiscent of school days. Rooms are set apart for 
drawing, classification and measurement. Our pho- 
tographers have a dark room and studio, and we all 
have a share in the council room. 

Visitors remark on the notice boards. They are 

131 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

there, containing instructions, minutely detailed, of 
the duties of the day. 

When the members of the expedition come down 
from their dormitory in the morning, they scan the 
boards to see what is apportioned to them for the 
day. Some are detailed for duty in Utica, others 
for the various nearby fields, and occasionally a 
lucky individual or two may be sent to Tunis for 
further equipment. The youths of the party evi- 
dence a justifiable rivalry for these journeys to 
Tunis. I am afraid that the Patisserie Royale has 
a lure second only to Tanit. 

Routine must be maintained, and the day begins 
early. Breakfast is at 6.30 for those who go far 
afield, and at 7 30 for the rest. The culprit who is 
not down in time for breakfast finds breakfast gone. 
Luncheon we take with us to the scene of our work. 

After the day is over, we return to the Palace, and 
dinner is served when we have sluiced off the im- 
mortal dust of Carthage. After dinner we sit around 
and discuss the day's results, what we have done, 
and what objects we have found. Dimensions are 
checked, and photographs of the previous day are 
talked over. Everything is classified. 

During the council, Professor Peterson takes down 
the reports in the journal of the expedition, and 
thereafter it is "free for all," frequently resolving 
itself into a debate, with the architects and sur- 
veyors, the various specialists and Abbe Chabot as 
the principal characters. 



THE HOME OF THE EXPEDITION 

In this way students from the various universities 
become familiar with every phase of the operations, 
and acquire highly specialised knowledge under the 
most ideal circumstances. 

Sometimes too, we have visitors. Very often they 
come in considerable numbers, and add somewhat to 
the cares of housekeeping. I am afraid I am to blame 
for their coming, and that it arises out of a habit 
of mine. When I am lecturing I invite people to 
come and see us at Carthage. It doesn't seem pos- 
sible that everyone will come, at least within the 
next few weeks, until I get back to the field, and then 
it seems as though they all came at once, and brought 
their friends with them. 

We do the best we can however, and usually it is 
a happy thing for us, and for them. And it is all 
good for the cause. 

Once in a while there is a strange consequence to 
such enthusiasm for Carthage as I may have been 
able to arouse among my audiences. 

One zealous amateur nearly precipitated a general 
strike. She hove to in front of our party one day, 
dressed for the part in a velvet hat, blouse and 
corduroy trousers, adorned with a gorgeous scarf for 
waist belt, and announced her intention to begin 
excavating! 

Work came to an abrupt halt. The Arabs struck 
at once, it seemed so opportune a moment. They 
neither could nor would understand this apparition 
in their midst. Pere Delattre went into a hysteria 

133 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

of amazed protest, and the strike almost extended 
to the actual members of the expedition. By super- 
human tact and machiavellian diplomacy, the catas- 
trophe was ultimately averted 

Close to our home is the veritable Aladdin's Palace 
of Baron d'Erlanger, and it is a wonderful relaxation 
to spend an hour or two, in the quiet of the day, in 
surroundings that speak so eloquently of the spirit 
of Hannibal and the great Carthaginians. 

It is an immense palace, with endless rooms and 
corridors, built of seventeen different kinds of mar- 
ble, and furnished in glorious Moorish fashion, with 
carpets of Mecca and cushions of the Tunisian souks 
Its soft lights and gentle shadows invite rest and 
speak of peace. \ 

In all the courtyards, between columns of marble, 
hang gilt cages containing singing birds The air 
is fragrant with the perfume of incense and the odour 
of orange trees and lemon blossoms. A fountain 
plays in the great room, and the water, that has 
its source in a basin beautified by lilies and tulips, 
flows through the middle of the luxurious chamber 
Here by the laughing stream, reclining on cushions, 
one hears the mysterious music of the country. The 
musicians and singers are hidden, but, in the half 
light, from a seemingly great distance, comes the 
muffled drumming, eloquent of the retreating Moors 
leaving Granada, wailing the loss of a great empire. 
Nearer and nearer it conies, and new instruments 
take up the theme. The cymbals clash and the 

134 



THE HOME OF THE EXPEDITION 

flutes wail, and the voices of the singers intone the 
minor chords of the chant of retreat. 

Magnificence upon magnificence, both of eye and 
ear, lead the mind across the centuries, until it is 
necessary only to be tranquil in order to appreciate 
the tragedy that has flowed over the isthmus since 
Carthage first struck awe into the minds of the people 
of the ancient world. 

Through long avenues of dark trees, cypress and 
myrtle, is to be seen a limpid pool, in which gold 
fish lazily turn, and on whose surface is reflected the 
whole of the village of Sidi Bou Said. The gleaming 
white houses, with their brilliant blue windows, 
fresh and untarnished, are reflected here and the 
towering minaret of the mosque whence, at night, 
the voice of the muezzin calls the people to prayer. 
It might almost be the voice of the Phoenician 
priests, exhorting the moon, while Carthage was still 
their city. 

Sunday is our rest day. It is essentially the day 
when we let excavation cease, and remember that 
we are human beings and not moles, when we wander 
down to the Monastery gardens, having been to 
Mass. To hear the White Fathers singing the old 
chants, is to listen to the most inspiring and beauti- 
ful music I know, and the spectacle of the rites of 
the early Christians, preserved here as nowhere else 
in the world, is sufficient to carry us back in body 
as well as in spirit to the great days whose ruined 
memorials we are recovering. 

135 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

The monastery gardens are the loveliest spot in 
Carthage, the only place where peace is never in- 
vaded. They lie crowning the top of the hill, en- 
closed by a wall 

Really the gardens are a park of ruins. The hoary 
old stones are softened by the brilliance of a pro- 
fusion of flowers, creeping vines, and the venerable 
Pere Delattre. He is the whole spirit of the place 
for us. When he is gone, I hardly like to think 
what will happen to us all 

Innumerable trees are here, and great pyramids of 
ruins, secured from loss, piled up, waiting for the 
time when there are sufficient workers, and sufficient 
knowledge, to fit them again into their proper places 
in the great work of reconstruction. 

Moving quietly among the trees are the white- 
robed Fathers It often seems to me that nowhere 
in the world do the birds sing quite so sweetly as in 
these gardens, gardens which themselves are a monu- 
ment raised on the blood-soaked earth of Carthage 
after untold generations of merciless warfare, per- 
secution, disaster and pestilence. Out of Christian 
martyrdom has prevailed Christian peace. 

From the gardens, wandering through the columns 
of the acropolis, it is only a little way to the museum, 
on the steps of which a White Father will doubtless 
greet you with a Christian welcome, and offer him- 
self as a friendly guide. The first things he will 
show you are the tomb stones of Saints Perpetua 
and Felicitas 

136 



THE HOME OF THE EXPEDITION 

Through a doorway is the great Punic room, where 
the dead of Carthage speak of the past. The sun 
strikes directly on to the lid of the sarcophagus of 
the Carthaginian priestess Arizat-Baal, an exquisite 
sculpture discovered by Pre Delattre, forty feet 
under the clay of the hill on which Dido is said to 
have landed. 

The original colouring is unimpaired, and the 
priestess seems to be alive. Before amazement at 
her beauty has passed away, the White Father will 
probably say "That is as she was, twenty-five hun- 
dred years ago. There she lies to-day/ 5 His hand 
will fall to his side, and, following the gesture, your 
eyes will be arrested by the open sarcophagus, which 
contains the grim skeleton of the dead priestess. 

Nearby is the tomb of a young girl, with the hair 
still clinging to the skull. In a little box is incense 
that was found in the tomb with her. When it is 
burned, the old scent still rises 

In a case are a pair of spectacles, with the lenses 
in position. I never see them without imagining an 
old Carthaginian merchant adjusting his spectacles 
before signing a cheque with one of the quill pens 
such as those near to hand, which were found in 
the tomb of a scribe, perhaps a poet who paid 
tribute to the beauty of the priestess. 

Around are a variety of cases containing personal 
objects: different kinds of rouge, vanity boxes, bronze 
mirrors, nail files, scissors, scent bottles, combs, hair 
pins, incense burners, and all those trifles that con- 

137 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

tributed to the happiness of women of fashion when 
Carthage ruled. 

In a way, one is glad to come out of the museum 
again, to see the sun, and to catch a glimpse of the 
sea 

From the terrace one can gaze down to what were 
the old gates of Carthage, and the little ponds, so 
small and forlorn looking to-day, speak of the time 
when the sea came round to the Admiral's palace, 
of which, now, only a few columns marked with the 
triangle of Tanit, still remain. It is astonishing 
that nothing has yet been discovered of the great 
walls of the city, which were at once fortifications 
and granaries, or, beyond a few pillars, OT the 
Admiralty and the harbour, which was enclosed by 
three-storey high buildings, where the people could 
witness the manoeuvres of the fleet as they sailed 
by, saluting their Admiral, before putting out to 
sea on a mission of war. 

Despite the edict of the self-assured, there is much 
yet to be discovered at Carthage 



138 



CHAPTER IX 

THE DEAD CITIES 

BUKNED by the blazing sun, and scarred by the 
hands of man and passing years, the martyred cities 
of Africa lie half buried in the sands from one end 
of the continent to the other. Their golden rums 
are silhouetted against a sky that once looked down 
upon a land of beauty and luxuriance and is now 
left a wilderness. 

It has been a hobby for the last five years to 
wander along the half -deserted trails of the ancients, 
over mountains and wilderness into the deep shadows 
of vast ruins, the skeleton of the work of the Empire 
builders, cities whose scattered stones are the bleach- 
ing bones of history lying gaunt in the sunlight. 

North Africa is an archaeological park stretching 
from the Atlas mountains to the Syrian coast, the 
trail runs through an almost endless series of tri- 
umphal arches, by aqueducts, bridges, forums, fort- 
resses, basilicas, palaces and temples. Sometimes 
the ruins rise like mirages from the shimmering 
sands, sometimes they are half -hidden in mountain 

139 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

mists, and at times it is possible to see them re- 
flected in the clear waters off the shore. 

From Carthage, which was the metropolis of them 
all, the old roads of the legions lead north, south 
and west* in some cases for so many hundreds of 
miles that they are finally lost in the sea of sands 
that is the Sahara 

To me, Carthage is the city of Basilicas and the 
place of the cult of Tanit, full of memories Utica 
is the city of the Phoenician treasure tombs. Dougga 
is the city of matchless temples. Bulla Regia means 
that adventure lies in the mysterious underground 
palaces. Timgad was the garrison town. Gigthis 
and Djerba are the dead cities of legend and sand. 

Each has its own distinct and personal character 
No two are alike, and yet there are hundreds of 
these now silent habitations of forgotten peoples 
only waiting for the pick and shovel of the excavators 
to make them reveal the glorious past. 

Only the surface has been scratched, in a small 
attempt to penetrate some of the mysteries and the 
history of Africa, and, though the pioneer enthusiasm 
of the old school of French scientists has done 
wonders, their efforts and those of the Services des 
Antiquites have never been adequately seconded. 
There is no field on earth so promising as Africa. 
Nowhere are the ruins so abundant, speaking elo- 
quently of the population that once filled the country. 

Population must have been dense indeed during 
the time of the Romans. In very restricted areas 

140 



THE DEAD CITIES 

I have counted several hundred important ruins. 
Gsell enumerates 264 in the neighborhood of Tebessa 
alone, and Boissiere speaks of 300 ruins in the region 
of Mateur, where to-day there is one solitary little 
town of about three thousand inhabitants. Several 
archaeologists and historians have calculated the 
population of some towns in proportion to theii 
size. Thysdrus, with its colossal amphitheatre had 
a population of 100,000, Sufetula 30,000, Thelept, 
whose vast ruins are yet absolutely untouched, had 
60,000 and Meninx 40,000. 

It is difficult to calculate the population of Africa 
in Phoenician times. My friend Stephane Gsell 
treats this subject fully in the second volume of his 
monumental History of North Africa, as well as 
the list of cities that bear Roman names of Punic 
origin. The works of Ptolemy, the nautical in- 
structions called Stadiasme of the Great Sea, the 
outline of Peutinger, and the famous itinerary of 
Antonine serve as my authorities in the study of the 
old cities and the various routes. 

Whether we can ever approach exact figures or 
not, an immense population lived in this region in 
both Phoenician and Roman days, covering the 
country between the Mediterranean and Cyrenia. 
Surprise awakens when the size of these empires is 
considered in the light of the struggles that were 
everlastingly continued, both against human en- 
emies and the ravages of nature. The opinion is 
generally held that the climate must have suffered 

141 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

great changes during the last two thousand years, 
but, the more I see of Africa, the more I am convinced 
that men adapted themselves to the country, and 
made it flourish by their own ingenuity and patient 
labour. 

From one end to the other, there are traces of 
aqueducts, cisterns, and irrigation works. The ques- 
tion that arises is never to be avoided in sight of 
these works. If there used to be a heavier rainfall, 
then why all these vast constructions? When Mar- 
ius made his famous march to Jafsa (Capsa) he 
passed through uncultivated, arid deserts (Sallust 
Jug. 89). I have crossed this region, and have seen 
it thick with buildings and towns that were built 
after his march. If the wilderness blossomed like 
the rose, it was through the work of men. 

France to-day is following in the wake of her great 
forerunners of fifteen or twenty centuries ago, and 
I am firmly convinced that her fight against the desert 
will be as successful as was that of the Romans. 

Some hundreds of times, after lectures, I have been 
questioned about the climate, and if the changing 
climate is not responsible for the ruins being in a 
desert country. I believe that if the waterways and 
other works were restored, Algeria and Tunisia 
could become the granary of Europe as it was for 
three hundred years under Roman rule. This opin- 
ion is, of course, a matter which would need to be 
supported in a long and reasoned argument, but 
in the course of my wanderings I have collected suffi- 

142 



THE DEAD CITIES 

cient notes, and made enough comparisons, to form 
the basis of a later report on the question. Stephane 
Gsell, Carter, Th. Fisher and A. Knox have all ex- 
pressed their opinions on the matter, but the field 
is still open. While at Tebessa lately, Maurice 
Reygasse and Stephane Gsell started a discussion 
that we continued in a lively fashion until the early 
hours of the morning 

However, the basis of that discussion may well be 
the starting point for one who would wander through 
the dead cities. Civilisation is a question of water- 
supply, and we can start along the great aqueduct 
to find the cities that profited by it. 

The Great Aqueduct leads from Carthage along 
the Imperial Way south. It stretches across the 
plains like an old dragon that is still master of its 
land, to the source at Zaghuan, eighty kilometres of 
raised waterway, which was capable of delivering 
six million gallons of water to Carthage daily. 

For twenty centuries the natives of the plains 
have looked at the monument to pre-Christian en- 
gineers, have seen it in its splendour, when the 
brilliance of a setting sun outlined it in crimson 
against the sombre purple of the Atlas mountains. 

The explorer of to-day follows in the train of earlier 
expeditions, which had no reference to archaeology, 
but whose object was plunder. From the ravaged 
plains, and the desolate cities, stones, monuments, 
and even buildings have been wrested to ornament 
the cities of the Mediterranean, whose power waxed 

143 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

as the days passed. Many an Italian and Spanish 
city boasts as its own gems that had their origin 
along the Imperial Way. 

At Zaghuan the furthest point of the aqueduct, 
on the side of the mountain, the temple through 
which the stream flows still stands. It is called now 
the " Chateau d'eau" but for the Romans it was a 
holy place. The temple was in the form of a semi- 
circle of worked columns, between which stood 
statues dedicated to the water divinities. Year by 
year the people assembled here for the rites and 
ceremonies of blessing the water, whose volume kept 
the cities supplied. Perhaps the Romans had an 
eye for the picturesque, as well as for the utilitarian 
value of the place, for, from the flower covered ruin 
the broken aqueduct can be seen twisting its way 
across the plains to Tunis, and beyond that to Car- 
thage 

Not far from Zaghuan, but a little off the track 
and needing a special journey lies Thurburbo Majus, 
just awakened from the sleep of centuries. Its ex- 
cavation and restoration are part of the work of 
the Services des Antiquites, which has been going 
forward in Africa during the last twenty years. 

This city has been called the Pompeii of Tunisia, 
a name well earned and appropriate. It lies, in 
the springtime, in a bed of many coloured flowers, 
which carpet the earth and grow in wild profusion 
round the ruins. The magnitude of the remains of 
the old city and the glory of the countryside make 

144 




Thurburbo Majus 
mosaic floor 



Peristyle wth columns and 



THE DEAD CITIES 

an exalting spectacle. Thurburo stands beside a 
river, surrounded by a circle of fantastic mountains, 
the jewelled tomb of the dead, sunk in a deep setting. 

Seeing the city for the first time, one is impressed 
by the variety of marble that has been used in its 
construction. Much is coloured, and the colouring 
has mellowed arid softened with age, so that the 
Forum, the Capitol, the summer and winter baths, 
triumphal arches, market place, temples and ceme- 
teries combine with nature to suggest that the city 
is only in repose, and not desolate or dead. 

It might only be waiting for the dawn to spread 
fully across the sky, before the city awoke and the 
streets filled. It is even almost gay. The tones 
of the marbled walls, staircases and even roads, hint 
at the brilliance that once existed, as the buildings 
change in hue, and almost texture, with the varying 
light and shade of an African day. 

I have seen the ruins at night, violet toned against 
the moonlit countryside, with shafts of polished 
silver here and there, and the mountains beyond like 
towering giants brooding over the city that speaks 
of the genius of Rome, now silent and melancholy, 
but immense and grand. 

South of the aqueduct lie the lead workings of the 
ancients at Djebel Resses, the lead mountain that 
was mined by Carthaginians, Romans and Vandals. 
In our excavations we have found a great number of 
slingstones which were made at Djebel Resses, and 
are inscribed with the curses of the slingers on their 

145 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

enemies. The stones vary in size from that of a 
pigeon's egg to a walnut, and their messages read 
"May this rest in the skull of my enemy" with an 
additional burst of profanity, or "I hope this gets 
him V "let this bring my enemy to the dust " The 
additional and purely personal remarks are quite un- 
quotable. 

With Djebel Resses on one side of our way and 
Bou Kornein on the other, the road winds to the 
"canyon of the Hatchet" where Hamilcar penned 
in the revolted forces of his own mercenaries, and 
met them with Carthaginians. 

It is the easiest thing in the world for us, knowing 
about the great battle, and identifying the place, to 
say how obviously it lent itself to the purpose. Any 
general would, if he could, have preferred such a 
spot for the battle, especially if his forces held the 
upper reaches and guarded the passes. Hamilcar 
compelled the issue at this point. There was no 
way of escape for the rebels, and they were reduced 
to hunger, and finally to cannibalism, before they 
surrendered. Surrender was no escape, however, 
for with Punic thoroughness, they who escaped their 
companions were crucified by their captors. It 
served the Phoenician's purpose, of establishing dis- 
cipline and authority, but it has left its memory 
here, and, despite the surrounding beauty, one is 
quite willing to leave the spot which even the natives 
call accursed to this day. 

It served too, for the great climax of Flaubert's 

146 



THE DEAD CITIES 

masterpiece Salammbo Tissot places the actual 
site at Ain es Sef . We have planned an exploring 
party for our next season's work, to search for traces 
of the battle, the most ferocious in history. Poly- 
bius calls it the "inexpiable war" and certainly its 
horrors have never been equalled in the history of 
warfare. (Poly. I, 88, 6-7.) 

On the way South by Bou Kornein lies Hamanlif , 
where extensive ruins have recently been found. 
Bou Kornein was the sacred mountain of the Car- 
thaginians and the Romans. On its twin summits 
stood the "high place" of the Canaanites, when the 
cult of Baal flourished. In Roman days the holy 
place became the temple of Saturnus Balcaranensis, 
and traces are still to be seen of a sanctuary, which 
was excavated by Professor Tontain, and whose 
specimens are now in the Bardo museum. 

The fires of Baal are cold, and from the sacred 
place looking down the green slopes and across the 
Gulf of Tunis one can see the cathedral of St Louis 
of Carthage, symbol of peace and charity, where once 
ruled Tanit, Moloch, Baal, synonym of all that was 
merciless and vicious in pagan horror. 

It is a strange thought, but many an Arab dwelling 
must be built on the ruined altars of the Phoenician 
sun-worshippers in this land of dead empires. 

Bou Kornein means twin-horned, and the name 
may possibly have some reference to the horns on 
the head of images of Baal-Moloch. 

Travelling south, near the gully of Hamamet, at 

147 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Bir Bou Rebka (Saigu) are the ruins of another 
temple which was dedicated to the gods of the dead 
past, Baal and Tanit, whose fires have smouldered 
long, but now no more. 

A little further journeying on the Roman Road 
brings us to Aphrodisium, whose name speaks for 
itself, and at once suggests the cult it commemorates. 
Here and at Sicca Veneris (now Le Kef) the worship 
of Venus reigned. Many relics of the orgies have 
been discovered, as well as the indications mentioned 
in Stephane GselTs History of Africa. They who 
would know more about the practices and their 
historical setting are referred to that authority 
(Cults, Vol IV, 402 ff.) and Valer. Max (II, 6.15). 

We pass from the site of the "abominations of the 
Sidonians" down the coast to the old tower of Ksar, 
now Menara, on the way to Sousse, the ancient 
Hadrumet. The roads are magnificent, and it has 
been great relaxation for us, year by year, to make 
expeditions from Carthage through this region. 

In the spring, the great Bedouin migrations take 
place. The caravans come north for the greener 
pasturage and for the harvest, and their travelling 
hordes bring to mind others who have followed the 
same route. The picturesque groups come trekking 
towards the mountains with their herds of camels 
and dogs and mules, and their women and children 
The nomads use the Roman highway that leads from 
Tripoli and the Sahara to Carthage, the same road 
that served the ravagers questing for pillage, m the 

148 



THE DEAD CITIES 

days that stretch to the forgotten years. The blue 
robed, tattooed Bedouins recall tie tribes of the 
past, the Mercenaries of twenty centuries ago, the 
Nasamons, Getulians, Ethiopians, Garamanteans and 
Libyans. All these have trodden the road before 
us. This is the street, it seems, where history was 
born. 

In the sunset along the trail we have camped by the 
old circular tower, and watched the twinkling lights 
of nomad fires on the shadowy horizon, and dreamed, 
in the dusk of Hannibal's elephants sweeping past 
us in the night, their trunks swinging and their 
mahmouts shouting, passing on in scores from the 
Sahara to Carthage, then on to the eternal snows 
of the Alps, or to die in Trasimene and Cannae* 

Here Hannibal himself journeyed, on his flight 
from the city, and here, by the tower waited for 
his ship, the way to safety. Perhaps the story we 
told by our camp fire is worth retelling, of the day 
when the emissaries of Rome came to Carthage to 
demand his surrender. 

In the year 195 B.C. Hannibal fled, after careful 
preparation. That none should be suspicious of his 
intention, he showed himself publicly in the Forum, 
but when night fell he made his way to the gate of 
the city with two companions. Horses awaited him 
there, and the great Carthaginian galloped for a 
night and a day, to a lonely tower by the shore of 
the sea. Whether the tower at Ksar Menara is 
the one he used is uncertain. Historians say the 

149 



DIGGING FOE LOST AFRICAN GODS 

spot was between Thapsus and Acholla, but the 
last named city has never been identified. Be that 
as it may, there is a great tower here, like the tomb 
of Cecilia Mettala on the Appian way, and it never 
fails to awake the thought of Hannibal's last ride. 

At the age of fifty-two this iron man rode nearly 
a hundred miles in fourteen hours, and at once sailed 
for the Kerkenma Isles. Michelet said that he 
would like to have seen Caesar galloping, baldheaded 
in the rain, through Gaul, but I would rather imagine 
the Carthaginian General galloping straight and furi- 
ously along the great way through the plains, from 
power to exile. 

Years passed, and on this road came the turbaned 
Saracens on their camels, spears shining and ban- 
ners waving, outlined like shadows on the crest of 
the hills against the clear light of the African sky 

On the crest over that horizon, pale-faced and 
baldheaded, Caesar galloped to the field of Thapsus, 
towards Utica, where Cato, unwilling to await his 
arrival, died from'the dagger thrust, before Caesar 
saw the walls 

Caesar suffered from cold and rain on the fields 
of Gaul, but here he rode through the searing breath 
of the Saharan land 

One remembers too that the victorious "white 
prince" Belisarius drove this way, and that the 
imperial Byzantine icons stood clear for the world 
to see, heralds of the end of blood and fire, and of 
the defeated Vandal empire in Africa 

150 



THE DEAD CITIES 

The clattering mail of the past legions is heard 
no more on the Roman road, going south, to Sousse, 
and there are sentinels no more on the walls* watch- 
ing for the advancing armies 

Sousse, the first city after Tunis, and capital 
of the rich Sahel land, is a magnificent walled-citadel 
to-day. The massive fortifications were built by 
the Aghlabites, and bear the sign of many assaults 
and sieges From the parapets of this African Car- 
cassm can be seen the site of the ancient Phoenician 
harbour, and memory is active again, reaching to 
the day when Hannibal sailed from the region of 
Hadrumet-Thapsus, to an exile which was never 
broken. From the battlements one looks over to 
the Kerkenna isles, where Hannibal feasted before 
sailing again for Tyre (Titus Livy XXXHI 483). 
The banquet ended in a drunken debauch, and in 
the midst of the coma that ensued, the wily strat- 
egist slipped anchor and sailed for the cradle of the 
Phoenicians. 

In Bithynia he died, at a place called Lybyssa, 
fulfilling the oracle which said that the old warrior 
was here to find his last resting place. Appian 
says "Lybyssan soil should one day give shelter to 
Hannibal," but it was not his native land, only a 
far and lonely spot on the sea of Marmora. His 
last words are supposed to have been said only a 
few moments before the Roman soldiers arrived to 
take him captive. 

"If one old man can still make the Roman Em- 

151 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

pire and the whole world tremble, it is better lie 
should die. . " Then he took the poison that 
he carried in the ring which he always wore, and 
died, to disappoint the Romans of a triumph (183 
B.C.). 

Sousse, the ancient Hadrumet, is the city of the 
African catacombs It was here that the Chris- 
tian troglodytes lived in unending subterranean 
passages, and here ten thousand rock tombs have 
been discovered. These melancholy hiding places 
of the persecuted Christians are as awe-ful and de- 
pressing as those of Rome. They were excavated 
by the Archbishop of Algiers, Mgr. Lenaud, and 
by the military authorities. Here is a well sculp- 
tured stone of the Good Shepherd carrying the Lamb, 
as well as engraved symbols of the early Christians 
on the walls. There are many tombs and inscrip- 
tions, and always bones. Nothing could be sadder 
than the dark corridors lined and sealed with death. 

From the corridors one comes to a field thick 
with flowers, and surrounded by eucalyptus and 
cypress trees, beyond which the minarets of Sousse 
gleam above the camp of the dead. 

From Sousse, moving further south, we come to 
the desert, and suddenly see, outlined against the 
clear sky, the vast ruins of the amphitheatre at 
El Djem, the ancient Thysdrus, one of the most 
extraordinary sights of all the magic land of sand 
and gold and ruin 

The gigantic pile seems even to dwarf the desert 

152 



THE DEAD CITIES 

itself. It is astounding as the pyramids, so vast 
and so silent, rising like a mountain over the squalid 
Arab town. This was the Cloaca Maxima of Afri- 
can passions; the stage of terrible scenes, the cess- 
pool of Roman brutality. Its accommodation was 
for nearly eighty thousand spectators, who thronged 
the place to see the slaughter of Christians; most 
thrilling sight of all to the frenzied populace. But, 
by contrast, we camped here in the quiet of the 
night, when the moon had softened the gaunt out- 
line, and turned its windows and terraces into the 
eyeless sockets of the head of death* 

Only the rough outlines of its history are known. 
The intimate tale is yet to be discovered, though 
we had with us Gaston Boissier's "Afrique Ro- 
maine," and turned to the great chapter in which he 
describes the amphitheatre of El Djem (pp. 51 ff. 
See also Andollent, Carthage Romaine, pp. 688 ff.) 

I had "Manfred" with me, and surely the descrip- 
tion of the Colosseum fits even better the mined 
amphitheatre here: 

I stood within the Coliseum's wall 
'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome: 
The trees which grew along the broken arches 
Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars 
Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar 
The watch-dog bay'd beyond the Tiber, and 
More near from out the Caesar's palace came 
The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly, 
153 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Of distant sentinels the fitful song 

Begun and died upon the gentle wind 

Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach 

Appeared to skirt the horizon, yet they stood 

Within a bowshot. Where the Caesars dwelt, 

And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst 

A grove which springs through levelled battlements 

And twines its roots with the imperial hearths, 

Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth; 

But the Gladiator's bloody Circus stands, 

A noble wreck in ruinous perfection! 

While Caesar's chambers, and the Augustan halls, 

Grovel on earth in indistinct decay. 

And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon, upon 

All this, and cast a wide and tender light, 

Which softened down the hoar austerity 

Of rugged desolation, and fQTd up, 

As 'twere anew, the gaps of centuries; 

Leaving that beautiful which still was so, 

And making that which was not, till the place 

Became religion, and the heart ran o'er 

With silent worship of the great of old ! 

The dead, but sceptred sovereigns, who still rule 

Our spirits from their urns. 



It is not at alTdifficuIt, in face of this giant of 
the empire builders, softened by centuries to a real 
orange colour, contrasting with the dull glow of the 
sands and the shimmering salt patches, to imagine 
the efforts that went to its construction, or the 
crowds gathering for holiday. 

154 



THE DEAD 

Time was insignificant to the builders. The stone 
for the Colosseum was hewn along the coast, and 
in gigantic slabs carried over the intervening twenty 
miles of desert. How numberless the slaves who 
toiled at the rollers, and how interminable their 
work! But after them, when the building was 
complete, one standing on the upper tier of the 
amphitheatre would see the citizens of distant 
places coming in droves, across the sand, on foot 
or in chariots, on their camels or on horseback, 
eager for the spectacle. The watcher would have 
seen the long trails, dust-clouded, leading back to the 
horizon; have heard the cries of excitement, rejoiced 
in the magnificence of this people who governed the 
world, but came to make holiday. To-day it is the 
very absence of the people that hurts. All is so 
silent, so deserted 

Rome built the amphitheatre, but people who 
followed, used it. Here the Kahena made her last 
stand. The Kahena was Boadioea and Joan of Arc 
in one, one of the heroines of the world, fanatical 
undoubtedly, but shrewd, courageous, far-seeing and 
determined Her story stands the peer of all in 
history. 

In 705 A.D. Kahena, Queen of the Berbers, fought 
the invading Arabs under Hassan, the last destroyer 
of Carthage She was called Dahiah, the queen, 
and Kahena, the priestess or sorceress. She was 
one of the Berber tribes of the Djavinrah, and swept 
down from the Aures mountains ablaze with fanatical 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

enthusiasm, to defeat Hassan Her followers in 
the lust and insanity of war slew forty thousand of 
their enemy in one battle alone 

In times of stress she rode through her country, a 
marked figure on a white charger, her spear shining 
and her armour bright, urging her people to valour, 
born of desperation On either side rode her sons, 
a group whose presence was in itself sufficient to 
arouse the smouldering flames of patriotic fire. 

Her land was harassed by the ravaging Arabs, 
who foraged and looted when they would The 
Kahena, believing that it was the richness of her 
territory that invited the marauders, did, more 
thoroughly than they, the work of destruction. 

"They want our gold, our cities, our trees, and our 
riches!" she said "Let us destroy everything, 
that none will desire our land, and we shall be left 
in peace. 55 

It was done The Kahena put her own land to 
the torch, and left it desolate. She destroyed 
crops, forests and cities, till the land was barren. 
Then she turned upon her enemies and drove them 
back to Gabes, and beyond. 

Legend says that the present desolation of the 
land around El Djem is the work of the Kahena, and 
few can remain long in the neighbourhood without 
hearing of her. She was at war most of her days, and 
the Berbers unfold their legends of "the sorceress* 5 
on the least provocation 

The Kahena was ruthless, devastating, terrible in 

156 




The Amphztheatre at El Djem The third gallery, 
unth figures to show proportions 



THE DEAD CITIES 

her devotion, yet withal a woman, discerning and 
temperamental, calculating, shrewd and emotional. 
Epic of woman, and the very torch of independence. 

When eighty knights of the Emir Hassan fell into 
her hands, she played the woman. - Perhaps on any 
other day she would have sent only their heads back 
to the Emir, but, on this day, there was one of their 
number who somehow reached her heart. He was 
Khaled, son of lezed, of the tribe of Cais, and pleas- 
ing to the eye. The seventy and nine were sent, 
unharmed, back to their prince, the one was kept 
behind, the adopted son of the Kahena. Before 
the departing knights, Khaled was nourished by the 
breasts of the Kahena 3 the sign of adoption among 
the Berbers. 

Whether the statesman or the woman was upper- 
most in this moment it is difficult to say. The tie 
of adoption might have been a diplomatic effort, or 
it might have been the desire to retain such a son by 
her side. Yet in the warfare of her people it proved 
of no consequence, for the Emir Hassan returned 
with a mightier company, and the Kahena was 
besieged in the great amphitheatre of El Djem, 
whose ruins stand in the midst of desolation, raised 
by the Romans ere they were swept from power, to 
remain as a memorial to this woman. 

For three years, it is said, she withstood the 
siege. The armies of the besieger were encamped 
round about her, and her own forces stayed within 
the walk that made an impregnable fortress, so 

157 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

well had the Romans built. It fared ill with Hassan 
All he could do was to sit and cool his heels in the 
parching desert. Entrance to the citadel he could 
not contrive, and his troops suffered hunger and 
thirst, though they held on* The story runs that 
the Kahena, vaunting her security, and dramatic as 
any Oriental, threw fresh fish, once a week, to the 
starving besiegers at the base of the walls. 

Fresh fish, in the very heart of the desert, twenty 
miles from the sea! It must have meant the very 
epitome of discouragement to the waiting soldiers 
unable to move, and themselves nearly starving in 
the midst of a hostile and desolate country. It is 
said that the Kahena was using the great subter- 
ranean passage to the sea coast at Salacta, for the 
replenishment of the larders of the besieged troops 
The passage was built by the Romans for the pur- 
pose of flooding the amphitheatre, that aquatic 
carnivals might be presented to the populace, and the 
Kahena had discovered them. The tunnel is wide 
enough for three horsemen to ride abreast 

The siege terminated in betrayal. The Kahena 
was delivered to her enemies, even as was Joan the 
Maid, and was beheaded in battle Her head was 
shown to the warriors and then thrown into a well 
The Berbers will show you the well, still called "The 
well of the Sorceress." 

The Kahena went, but still many a scar on the 
columns of the amphitheatre speaks of battle sub- 
sequent to her tune. Succeeding people used it as 

158 



THE DEAD CITIES 

she had, as a fortress, and found it a safe haven; 
while the attackers found it a rock on which they 
threw themselves, to break in futile effort. Its day 
as a fortress passed when one Bey of Tunis placed 
cannon before it, and bombarded it methodically 
until he blasted a way through the walls, that it might 
no longer serve as a refuge for rebels. He made a 
way in, it is true, but it is much more of a testimony 
to the Roman builders than to the efficacy of the artil- 
lery of the Bey f 

The whole of this region abounds in signs of 
Roman labour, and at Foum Tatahouin and Gigthis 
are Phoenician ruins also. Further down the coast 
of Tripoli lie the ruins of Sabrata, Olea and Leptis 
Magna, from which is derived the name Tripoli. 
Tripolitain, the "three cities." 

I have little doubt that the Greeks also traded 
with and colonised this locality, and probably came 
to blows with the growing power of Carthage; pos- 
sibly simultaneously with the great wars in Sicily. 

One of the most important trade routes from 
Carthage to Tripoli and Cyrenia passed by Gabes 
Medenine and Ben Gardane, the frontier post. 

Passing Gabes, one sees the ruins of Ksar Kbu- 
tine (the ancient Auganni). There are ruins on 
many of the hills; guard-houses and outposts of the 
Roman Empire on the fringe of the desert. Gigthis, 
Zarzis, and Villa Magna were themselves great cities, 
and Zarzis (Zian) lies in the neck on the road from 
Medenine to the Island of Djerba. 

159 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

This was the great oil centre of the Romans, and 
is a romance in itself. It is a desert now, but then it 
was the scene of a great enterprise that must appeal to 
the oil magnates of the world. The Standard Oil 
Company, with its miles of pipe line was anticipated 
here. Tissot speaks of the "oil pipes" that led 
from Zian to the sea, and Dr. Carton recently found 
traces of the canalisation. 

It is a unique chapter of mercantile history, and 
full of significance for the present generation* We 
are used to the magnitude of our own organisation 
We have rapid transport. We carry our oil and 
our water overland through great pipes, for the 
benefit of our people. There is little that is new 
in this. Remembering the great aqueduct, which 
is not superseded to this day, we now have a 
view of the ingenuity of the traders of the ancient 
periods. 

Numerous ruined oil presses have been found, 
which, in conjunction with the pipe lines, speak 
eloquently of the size of the commerce. The oil 
was pressed at the olive orchard, and then carried 
through pipes to the waiting galleys, prototype of 
modern tankers. At the quayside, the oil was 
run into giant amphores, sealed witih. the mark of 
the producer, and hastened to Rome, which, as 
Cato, in his spleen pointed out, was only three days 
sailing away. 

There are three temples yet visible at the spot, 
doubtless enriched by the offerings of the oil traders. 

160 



THE DEAD CITIES 

We have no proof that there was a Teapot Dome 
scandal in those days, but one is certain that, since 
sport played its part in politics, trade would be even 
more powerful. 



161 



CHAPTER X 

GIGTHIS 

THEY say that North Africa has nothing more to 
offer! Who they are matters little, and what they 
say matters less. Nor would they say it if they could 
have travelled for days along an uninviting route 
partly by the sea shore and partly through the des- 
ert, desolate, uninviting, and sinister. 

There are times when the desert is inhuman, when 
it appears like a gigantic menace, withdrawn a while 
that it may the better engulf the unwary. 

We had travelled south in the cars, exploring the 
country, collecting our facts, reviving our geog- 
raphy, drinking in the setting of the great move- 
ments of history, but the journey had not been en- 
tirely enjoyable. We had lit up the face of the des- 
ert with our searchlights, we had dared it, and so far 
had conquered its discomfort as well as our own 
apprehension. For days we had been riding over 
the barren plains, unrelieved by vegetation other 
than the wiry tufts of coarse grass, the drinn of the 
Arabs. Sand was everywhere, in our eyes and in 
our food. It would have been in our water and our 



GIGTfflS 

wine, except that these were securely sealed. An- 
other night, like the preceding nights in every soli- 
tary and uncomfortable detail, had fallen and we 
turned on our headlamps. The younger niembers 
of the party were playing the searchlight in every 
direction. Doubtless there was pleasure in thus 
awakening the shadows, each more weird than the 
last, and in lighting up the scurrying form of some 
vagrant, half -wild dog as it hunted alone. It is sur- 
prising what one will do to relieve the ennui of a 
long journey across barren places. 

We knew we were near Gigthis, but did not expect 
it quite so suddenly as it appeared. We rounded a 
rocky shoulder, and were instantly aware of a fresh 
sea breeze. Our lights caught the glint of little salt 
lakes, turning them into silver shields on the flat of 
the earth, and then, swinging into the full beam we 
saw the Forum. The situation was almost ludi- 
crous in its contrast. There were we, a few men 
coming out of the wilderness, standing in front of 
the deserted work of the empire builders. We had 
brought our own illuminations with us, and lit up 
Gigthis more brilliantly than her own revellers ever 
had been able to do. We camped on the steps of a 
temple, probably erected to some long forgotten 
sea divinity, and there we held a modern riot. 

It was the coming of age of one of the members of 
our party, and we had carefully preserved a few 
bottles of champagne for the event, that it might 
be done with due style and ceremony. 

163 



. DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

That was a night to be remembered. Our city 
was either bright light or intense shadow, there were 
few soft tones for the moment. Our lamps threw a 
beam that cut clean, and left no frayed edges. They 
were strictly utilitarian and not at all romantic, 
but along tie line of the shore lay a camp of the 
Bedouins, their sVrn tents stretching long, and low, 
like shadows between us and the sea. Their camp 
fires burned fitfully and contested the brilliance of 
the stars reflected in the gulf of Bougara. 

Our modernised feast may have compared but 
poorly with the genius of the Romans in these mat- 
ters, but we had one satisfaction at least. We were 
discovering their city, and not they ours When it 
was over, and we had switched off the brilliance of 
the lamps, we gathered odd bits of brushwood, 
prowling around lijce thieves in the night, and lit a 
bonfire for the sake of its effect on the ivory toned 
marble. 

One of the rewards of exploration is that the 
explorer may try effects like that, but before light- 
ing a fire on the steps of a temple, it is first necessary 
to find your temple, and then your wood. Having 
found these necessities, the dead awake. The softer 
light persuades the stones to live again. It catches 
them unawares, the long shadows are gentler and 
the ruins more friendly. Imagination becomes a 
possibility when all things are congruous. We for- 
got our motor cars. 

My bed was on the steps of the Temple, and temple 

164 



GIGTfflS 

steps are about as useful for a bed as a marble cap- 
ital is for a pillow. They do not induce sleep. 
Sheer fatigue overcame the hardness of the stones 
at last, and I slept to the sound of the moaning of 
distant waves lapping the shore, to dream of pro- 
cessions of elephants padding their way through 
the streets of the city, laden with gold and ivory, to 
be shipped to Carthage. 

When daybreak awoke me, I saw, like an island 
hung between sea and sky, the land of the Lotus 
Eaters. It hung like an amethyst and emerald 
pendant, supported by two graceful ivory columns 
tinged with the first blush of sunrise. It looked as 
such a land of enchantment should, enticing us. We 
accepted the lure later, and made a wonderful find. 

Gigthis is built between two hills, and once a 
river ran through the valley to the sea. The bed 
is now only a dry and rocky gully, but on the banks 
used to stand the palaces of the rich citizens, from 
whose windows the same view that we enjoyed 
could be seen. Time has made a great difference, 
however, for the walls of the harbour gleamed in 
decay through the unclouded waters that have 
now submerged the port. 

Away from the city stretched the forbidding 
waste of the desert. Nothing lived, save the Bed- 
ouin camp and our little party. These, and a bird 
that perched motionless on a stone by the water's 
edge, looking out to sea. It had found a place for 
the sole of its foot, but no companionship, and 

165 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

probably little food. Gigthis was dead. It is dead. 
Even its echoes are voiceless, but in death it has a 
soul, and character. Its marbles conceal in ivory 
and gold the secret of the ages, the warfare of man 
against time, of beauty against decay, inviting the 
dreamers of to-day to think of the time of glorious 
companies, whose relics now are crumbling stone. 

If decaying columns can speak of tragedy, or bat- 
tered cornices stage the drama of civilisation over- 
thrown by war, then Gigthis is eloquent. Once the 
gateway of the Sahara, warehouse for Carthage, 
where rested the treasures too stupendous for Rome 
to conceive, her treasures are now forlorn, or driven 
deep under the silt and accumulation of centuries, 
waiting for light. 

Let there be no misunderstanding of these dead 
cities. The galleons of Spain carried in their hulls 
not more than the fraction of the wonders lying 
under the loam of North Africa. There is work for 
many generations* There is value, scientific, artis- 
tic, intrinsic, to be dug from the dust. I should 
certainly never be surprised to learn that enterprise 
more commercial than academic had been launched 
for the exploration of these easily mined places. 

Particularly I would like to begin to dig, at once, 
at the bend of the river, before it reaches the sea, 
not far from the Marine Gate. Let me say why, 
but to explain I must tell a little of the history of 
Gigthis as we know it. 

Gigthis is mentioned in the famous Periplus as 

1G6 



GIGTHIS 

being a city half a day's journey from Djerba, which 
establishes its Graeco-Phoenician origin. Greek in- 
fluence is found in all its buildings, and that is not 
surprising, when we remember that Greece col- 
onised all this littoral. It was undoubtedly the 
clearing house for trade between Carthage and the 
Sahara, ultimately being left to the Phoenicians 
without interference from the Greeks, a compact 
being made that there should be no infiltration of the 
respective territories beyond the altar of Philenae. 

Herodotus speaks of the Garamantes being thirty 
days beyond this area, which he called the Land of 
the Lotus Eaters. In the fifth century B.C. trade 
to an enormous extent existed between Leptis, 
Sabrata and Gigthis, and the mysterious capital of 
the Garamantes, called Ghadarmes, whose influ- 
ence spread throughout the Sahara. 

The ancient Nasamons also traded along the 
Syxtian coast, and it is reported that a Carthaginian, 
one Magon, made the trip across the Sahara three 
times (Athenee H , p. 44). Herodotus, fortunately, 
in his romantic manner, gives us a light on certain 
aspects of trade, speaking of the raid made by the 
Garamantes on the Ethiopians, who were pursued 
in chariots drawn by four horses, raw material of 
the slave traffic which prospered Carthage con- 
siderably. 

These slaves were probably brought across the 
caravan routes to Gigthis, there to be transshipped 
(Gsell IV., 140). We hope, in the trip to the Hoggar 

167 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

which is being planned at the moment of this writing, 
to find traces of these old routes, along which the 
produce of the desert, in human material, gold, and 
ivory, came to civilised men. Some encourage- 
ment is given in this direction, for Barth found illum- 
inating sculptures in the rock caverns of Tibesti 

Hercules was the chief god of Gigthis, and from 
the little excavation that has been done here, a 
head was recovered, giving some light on the relig- 
ion. The head was found by G. A. Constans, and 
is in the Bardo museum (cf. G. A. Constans* Gigthis, 
pp. 44r-46). 

After tfie Greeks and Phoenicians came the all- 
conquering Romans, who made Gigthis even more 
powerful and important, and used the city as a centre 
for their own trade. 

The Marine gate of this city of ivory and gold leads 
up from the ancient quays, and stands to-day as one of 
the really imposing relics of the city in its prime. 
Gigthis was essentially a sea port, and the harbour 
promises a rare field for excavation and investiga- 
tion. Fancy can still play on the old scenes, and 
imagination reconstructs the city, looming up on 
the coast, gleaming in the sun to beckon the ships 
of the Mediterranean as they make for port. The 
full tale and the clearer vision wait until science 
has taken in hand the weapons of the navvy. His- 
tory will be hewn from the earth by pick and 
shovel. 

Still standing, and cleared of debris, are the rums 

168 



GIGTHIS 

of the triumphal arch giving on to the Forum. These 
rums were brought to light by officers and soldiers 
of the French troops stationed at Medenine. Even 
warriors are now detailed for archaeological research! 
The arch is not large, but is of considerable beauty, 
and its proportions are so exquisitely balanced that 
it seems rather to be a graven jewel than a mass of 
hewn stones. 

From the steps of the Forum, which are undam- 
aged, it is possible to visualise the grandeur of the 
past. Votive stones and pedestals in the forum 
bear inscriptions which are easily legible, bearing 
testimony to the march of time. One is inscribed 
"In the reign of Aurelius." 

Greek inspiration is easily recognisable in the 
Forum, and in many unidentified temples. It will 
not be long, perhaps, before we unearth evidences 
and stones that will enable us to write a new chapter 
in the history of the seaport. 

Beyond the temples are the palaces of the wealthy, 
the traders and profiteers, the usurers and slave 
dealers. 

Mosaic floors in colour that defies time are still 
intact, and throw an unwavering challenge to sun 
and tempest. 

The villas are well planned. Actually they are 
riverside mansions, and full use was made of the 
river for every convenience the architects could 
imagine. Vast cisterns , were built, in themselves 
indicative of the condition of the city. It does not 

169 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

rain often at Gigthis, nowadays, and apparently the 
original residents suffered from drought also, hence 
these huge reservoirs, wherein a supply might be 
laid against the reverse of a rainy day. 

Under the soil of the hill overlooking the sea are 
the Phoenician ruins. A few stones may be seen, 
mutely imploring the work of the excavators, and 
these few are enough to start any thorough-going 
red-blooded archaeologist on a work that merits the 
devotion of a lifetime, for they bear undoubted signs 
of Egyptian influence. 

Gigthis, seaport, storehouse, cosmopolis, drew 
from all the known lands for her trade and her cul- 
ture* The few capitals discovered still carry their 
brilliant colouring of red and gold Gigthis must 
have invented the phrase "The Gay City." 

In one of the palaces here was discovered the 
strange scientific freak to which reference has al- 
ready been made. A rain storm, rare event, soaked 
one of the walls, peeling off the "wall paper/' Left 
on the wall was the writing from the parchment, 
the world's first carbon-copy. 

The characters, but this is for the scientifically- 
minded, were Neo-Phoenician. The rediscovered 
documents are in the hands of Professor Dussand of 
the French Academic des Inscriptions et Belles 
Lettres, and are now being deciphered by him. 

Rain, and not archaeological excavation, may yet 
be the means of wresting the story of Gigthis from 
her present demolition. Rain has helped on many 

170 



GIGTHIS 

occasions. It is the prime cause of several discov- 
eries in North Africa. I have, myself, seen many 
mosaics come up fresh and smiling, like carpets 
from the cleaners, after a rain storm, and of course, 
at Carthage, rain means a crop of coins, glass glob- 
ules and many other small relics of the past coming 
to the surface and simply asking to be picked up. 

From the Phoenician ruins on the hillside at Gig- 
this the paths lead down again to the sea, and on 
the way down stands another little Forum. They 
are like that f Day after day I see something I 
want to uncover, read some sign that indicates 
museums of rare things just under the earth. 

But that path to the river recalls me to the state- 
ment I made earlier in this chapter. It leads back 
to the one spot in Africa where I would like to start 
digging at the earliest possible moment; the bed of 
the river. 

It is sheer tantahsation. Remember that the 
houses of the wealthy citizens of Gigthis stood on 
the riverside. Think of all the devastation, both delib- 
erate and unintentional, the ravages of looters and of 
time. The river bed must be filled with treasures 
of the old commercial city, the waters of the river 
must have received many works of art dislodged 
by the Vandal and Moslem scourges and by the 
weight of years. 

I picked up many coins in the river bed, and sheets 
of wonderful arretine pottery, though I was only 
gleaning for a few moments. Under the silt may 

171 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

lie a Venus of Cyrene One can say little that is 
impossible in the city of the Gods and the men who 
vied with them for splendour. 

One's steps lead to the grey blocks chafed by a 
million tides, ground into shapeless masses, the old 
port. The sea is tranquil now, there are no ripples 
breaking the surface, and the sun touches the flat 
expanse A quivering mist rises. For eight yards 
one can walk out on the ancient piles over the waters 
that once carried the galleys of Tyre and Rome, but 
now are shallowed and undisturbed. 

How great the contrast is. Colour, baffling to 
modern utilitarianism, must have made the scene 
a panorama of extravagance. Galleys with furled 
sails and glistening oars, with gold figureheads, and 
banks of swarthy rowers, came in here, smoothly 
and easily, sidling to the wharves, there to be laden 
with the wealth of Africa. The races of the Medi- 
terranean must have jostled together on the quays, 
their feet wearing the stone smooth. Getulians, 
Libyans, Garamanteans, Numidians, Carthaginians, 
and Tyrians, Greeks and Romans, black slave and 
white free, senators, soldiers, ebony African chief- 
tains and hook-nosed, bartering, Phoenicians, all 
were here, haggling and commanding, dealing in 
gold dust and ivory, slaves and elephants, precious 
stones, oil, and produce of all the provinces. 

Through the streets came the procession of ele- 
phants, massive hulks on cushioned feet, in single file 
and tricked out in splendour, swaying in slow state- 



GIGTfflS 

liness through the Marine Gate, urged by the hoarse 
clamour of negro mahmouts. 

Behind the galleys and the kneeling elephants, 
patiently waiting for their unloading, rose the golden 
city on its crescent hill, its river running between 
marble walls to the Syrtian sea. Its temples and 
palaces outlined, with forums, baths, statues and 
arches, against the olive green of the hillside and 
the vivid sky. 

Such a spectacle greeted the returning seafarers, 
and for greater magnificence duplicated itself in the 
quiet waters of the land-locked haven. 

To-day, nothing stirs. AH is gone, faded like the 
dream of a century in the night of a thousand years* 
Only the spirit remains, and yet the dead stones 
vibrate, trying to recapture the glory as they lie 
there, ground by the hand of man and the heel of 
time, burned by an enduring sun. The stones of 
Gigthis are her symbol of the beauty and genius of 
man opposed by the restlessness of centuries and 
the engulfing African desert. 



178 



CHAPTER XI 

DJERBA" AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

FROM Gigthis it is necessary to double back a 
little round the peninsula, to reach, the narrowing part 
of the Straits between the mainland and the Island 
of Djerba. The straits are approximately three 
miles wide, and in the days of the Romans a bridge 
connected the island and the mainland. It seemed 
to us, as we made our way to the point of embarka- 
tion, that we could walk right across without diffi- 
culty, but that was only an impression gained by the 
peculiar perspective of the island 

The coastline is almost flush with the sea, and in 
the distance Djerba looks like a floating breastplate* 
heavily jewelled, floating on the pale blue of the 
waters, with a thin ridge of white sand around its 
edge. 

The mainland is almost denuded of vegetation; 
the island is an oasis torn from, its place and sent 
floating out to sea. 

Our motor cars had to be transshipped, and the 
question of their transport was by no means easy 

174 



DJERBA. AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

to solve. It was finally accomplished by tying two 
Arab feluccas together and building a platform wide 
enough to take one car at a time. We wedged the 
wheels with stones, and pushed off, but the felucca 
has a contrariness more irritating than that of an 
ass, and we were no sooner adrift than each boat 
wanted to take its own course, and leave the motor 
to fend for itself. As soon as we had overcome this 
tendency we found ourselves aground 1 It was use- 
less waiting for the tide to float us, because there is 
no tide. Therefore we harnessed two score Arabs 
to drag the transport into deeper water. 

The channel presented little difficulty thereafter, 
and in due course our expedition was all safely 
landed on the opposite shore. But we wished that 
the bridge still remained. Only the traces of the 
causeway could be seen, however, whose founda- 
tions gleam beneath the clear sea like submarine 
temples. 

The island is about three hundred square miles in 
extent, and at the present time has a population of 
nearly fifty thousand people, who are the Puritans 
of North Africa, never mingling with the people of 
the mainland and inordinately proud of their pure 
blood and untarnished ancestry. In religion they 
are unorthodox Moslems, called Kharedjites, and 
are industrious and skilful farmers. The island is 
very fruitful, and well covered with olive trees. 

Just the same, I am afraid that Ulysses was not 
factually correct in his romancing. The people are 

175 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

ignorant of the Lotus! They are serious inscrutable 
individuals, most of whom, from their skill on the 
water, must have been born sailing a boat. And, 
to sail a boat there seems to be the ideal of the chil- 
dren. One is not surprised, for there is a brisk, 
clean wind off the island, and the sky and sea make 
for complete satisfaction. Probably I am unduly 
susceptible to colour, but I feel that a sky actually 
orange toned, and a sea whose waves shade into deep 
purple, to become almost black in the shadows of 
the troughs, would tempt most people to sail. 

Djerba has not yet been spoiled by the tourists, 
though it is a tourist's paradise, for here are habits 
and customs, and people too, who have not changed 
for more centuries than can be comprehended. The 
villages are all of a pure silvery whiteness, which 
gleam brightly in the sun, and many of the inhab- 
itants are attired in vivid blue. The effect is almost 
cubist, especially when the women join in the pro- 
cessions, wearing their fantastic cone-shaped "tan- 
agra" hats. When there are strangers about, the 
women keep themselves hidden, lest they should 
be seen. The men, however, are not so bashful. 

Our photographer nearly stampeded the whole 
population, so eager was he to get a photograph of 
the women. They were terrified at the thought, 
and scampered away from him, across the fields, and 
he, now doubly determined to obtain the photo- 
graphs, ran after them, with his large camera at the 
"ready/* That made them more frantic than ever, 

176 



DJERBA AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

and it took us a little while to persuade the men, who 
resented this attention, that nothing serious was 
intended. Perhaps they thought we had a plan of 
abduction afoot. 

The incident brought a new topic to the villages, 
at least, and probably that sudden inrush of the new 
world has aroused the sleepy silent towns more than 
anything else could. 

It is hardly permissible to call the groups of houses 
towns, for the population is far from urban. The 
towns are only market places, where the people come 
occasionally to buy and sell. Their life is mostly 
agricultural, though there are potteries, and some 
work is done on looms, which provide the white 
burnooses and striped blankets which are acquired 
by foreign traders. 

Success has had to be dragged from a reluctant 
earth, for life on the island is not so simple as fable 
would have it. The huge old olive trees which are 
scattered over all the island are often gnarled and 
hideously contorted, but they do bear olives, and 
that, according to the people, is all that is required of 
an olive tree. 

For excitement, the people come into the market 
places, and watch, or participate in, the sales of 
donkeys, sponges* dates, figs, and dried orange blos- 
soms. 

In the court-yards of the Foudouks or caravan- 
serai, where the arched colonnades give a wel- 
come shade, doves coo and lazily swoop in quest of 

177 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

food, while the unladen asses lie in phlegmatic con- 
lent* 

Quaint camel-driven mills and oil presses in the 
storehouses do duty to-day as did their replicas in 
the days when Gigthis was the centre of the oil 
trade of the Empire. 

Time has been gentle with Djerba, and it has not 
shared the fate of its neighbours on the mainland. 
To-day it is a flowered palm garden, with a beauty 
hard to parallel, and it is studded with innumerable 
and magnificent relics of all the ages that have gone 
over the head of man since he first learned to scratch 
a picture in the rock, or to light a fire for his own 
comfort. 

Signs of vengeance and destruction are not entirely 
wanting, of course. Only recently the French, for 
reasons of their own, have given proper burial to 
the ghastly memorial Dragut raised to the over- 
throw of the Spanish, made from the remnants of 
his massacred prisoners. Five thousand Christian 
skulls were piled high; graphic and barbaric monu- 
ment to the thoroughness of victory and the hope- 
lessness of defeat. 

The ruins of Djerba have not, so far, been stud- 
ied archaeologically* The island is a virgin field for 
the scientist, though it figures prominently in leg- 
end and history. It is "the low lying isle" of the 
Periplus of Scylax, "the isle of the lotus eaters" of 
the Greek authors, "Pharis" of Theophrastus, 
"Meninx" of Polybius, and "Phla" of Herodotus. 

178 



DJERBA. AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

The Periplus records the beauty of its gardens and 
the splendour of its cultivation as far back as the 
4th century B.C. Our party can echo that praise 
after twenty-five hundred years. 

It is, however, from an archaeological point of 
view that Djerba is most interesting. On the island 
are the signs of many civilisations, some open to the 
sight of man, and many more needing only a little 
work for their excavation. 

Hercules, identified with the Phoenician God Mel- 
cart, was worshipped at Djerba, as indeed in all 
the Phoenician colonies, and an altar existed in the 
isle of Meninx (Gsell, Vol. TV , p. 306). 

In 253 B.C. Rome sent two of her consuls, C. Ser- 
vilius Caepio and Sempronius Blaesus to plunder the 
Carthaginian coast. The fleet at their disposal is 
said to have consisted of two hundred and sixty ves- 
sels (Eutrope, II , 23 and Orose, IV., 9-10), and were 
on the point of leaving for home, heavy with booty, 
when they were driven aground at low tide in the 
Gulf of Bougara. By throwing everything over- 
board they were able to lighten their quinquiremes, 
and escaped just before the Carthaginian fleet came 
on them. 

Two hundred and sixty ship loads of the riches of 
Phoenicia lie off the coast of Djerba. 

Archaeologists are neither fugitives nor necessar- 
ily adventurers, they may have little in common with 
lllysses, but it is as difficult for me to leave Djerba 
as it was for the hero of Homer's tale. No one 

179 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

offered me the tempting flower, but Djerba offers a 
field almost unknown, and the sea round about 
offered more. 

It is a fabulous isle in a fabulous sea. 

Tradition says that Djerba was an Aegean colony 
It is obvious that both Greeks and Phoenicians have 
contributed to its development, and in addition there 
are the usual Roman buildings. Everywhere there 
are piles of marble dust, broken columns, and mo- 
saic floors. We have explored the site of many cities, 
whose ancient names we do not know. The Phoe- 
nician city, which is still unlocated, we know was 
called Tipassa. It lay in the southwest part of the 
island* and Stephane Gsell suggested to me that it 
may well be the ruins of that city that we partly 
explored, under the sea. The clues of the lost 
city seem to coincide with the site where we discov- 
ered certain specimens. (See Gsell, Vol. II,, pp. 
124-5.) Tissot believes that Haribus, another city 
on Djerba is also of Phoenician origin, while Gesen- 
ius (pp. 220-1, 227) mentions a neo-Phoenician 
inscription found on the southwest coast of the 
island, near Adjim. 

There can be no doubt of the immensity of the 
discoveries to be made, for the slight excavations 
that have been made by occasional explorers and the 
military authorities have established the fact that 
there are strange tombs outside the city of Meninx, 
and a few objects, such as mosaics and a beautiful 
baptismal font have been recovered, and are now 

180 



DJERBA- AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

at the museum in Tunis. A careful survey needs 
to be made, for the island is practically covered with 
Phoenician, Roman and Spanish remains. The 
ruins are on either side of the roadways that lead 
through the island, and before Djerba gives up 
its information nearly all its area will have to be 
worked. 

In the very centre of the island is the famous Jew- 
ish Synagogue of Hara Srira, to which a great pil- 
grimage is made annually* In the library there is 
an old scroll of the scriptures, dating from the second 
century, and which is held in reverence through- 
out Africa. The priests who seem to belong to the 
time of their manuscripts are jealous of the old 
library, and though with difficulty they can be per- 
suaded to show the ancient scroll, none is allowed 
to touch it. It is handled with silver tongs, if it is 
handled at all. 

The priests, however, will tell of the history of 
the synagogue, and its accompanying monastery. 
Ages ago, the Jews, being driven out of Palestine, 
came to the island in the course of their wanderings, 
and asked permission of the inhabitants to settle 
there. This was given, on condition that they did 
not live at the capital, Meninx. 

The wanderers had carried with them a stone from 
the temple, and, with that as talisman, searched the 
island for the place where water was most plentiful 
and sweetest. There they built their temple, and 
around the sanctuary grew their town. They pros- 

181 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

pered so well that an Arab Caid protested against 
their wealth, which was due to their shrewdness in 
selecting the site and controlling the sources of fresh 
water. The Caid argued that, since the Jews were 
traders and not agriculturists, they had no need of 
the best water supply on the island, and gave them 
notice to quit* The Jews pleaded that they might 
be allowed to keep the temple of their fathers, and 
the Caid so far relented. 

To this day the temple stands, but round it are 
the ruins of the first city, which had to be dis- 
mantled, because the sacred stone had found the only 
pure water on the island. 

Here the pilgrims come from all over the conti- 
nent, and here the Jews are unmixed, unchanged, 
proud and exclusive. Not bowing to the conven- 
tions and customs of other countries, where pros- 
perity has often led to dissimulation, the Hebrews 
of Djerba are a distinguished and noble company, 
with little but scorn for their co-religionists who have 
ceased to be their co-nationalists. 

Not far from the synagogue is the village of 
Guallala, the pottery centre of Djerba. It is sur- 
rounded by palm trees, and, to the traveller, is a 
living specimen of antiquity. Pottery is still made 
in the same way as was the pottery which we unearth 
in our excavations, and one can sit and watch the 
potter at work, learning from the very conservatism 
of the island much that is valuable in reconstructing 
the life of two thousand years ago I noticed that 

182 




Synagogue, Ilara Snra, Djerba This 
is supposed to be the oldest Talmud in 4frzca, 
and 2s one of tlie sacred spots of pilgrimage in 
tlie isle of Djeroa 



DJERBA AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

most of the potters' houses are built of material 
recovered from the adjacent ruins of a Roman 
settlement. 

The kilns burn day and night, and nothing has 
changed through the years. The old potters might 
have furnished the Persian with his poetic inspira- 
tion, Omar would have found examples here. The 
modelling forms might have served the Phoenicians 
or the Romans. 

Djerba would be a happy hunting ground for the 
ethnologist, as well as the archaeologist. Its pres- 
ent, as well as its glorious past, has much that is 
suggestive for the observer, for the student of his- 
tory, and for the excavator. 

The depths of the Mediterranean hide many se- 
crets, and much archaeological treasure. Its shores 
are covered with ruined cities, and its bed is paved 
with the loot and vessels of many civilisations. Dur- 
ing the Punic wars hundreds of vessels were sent to 
the bottom of the sea, and while Carthage was yet 
the glory of the Phoenicians and when she became 
the metropolis of Roman civilisation in Africa, great 
fleets and treasure ships were sunk. 

It was the lure of submarine archaeology that 
drew our expedition to Djerba. Other fields of 
similar nature will be explored before many years 
are passed, such as Mahdia and Carthage; signs lead 
the imaginative to think that perhaps the legend of 
the lost Atlantis is not entirely unfounded, though 
imagination is sometimes overtaxed. There are so 

183 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

many offspring of Atlantis that if every suggestion 
were founded on even a shred of possibility, not a 
city, not a continent, but a whole universe would 
be insufficient to contain the fabular past. There 
are cities off the Norfolk coast, rumour says, and some 
off Brittany, others off Holland. Rumour has a 
diplomatic passport, and travels free So, when I 
first heard of a sunken city near Djerba, I thought 
for a while that it was no more than another version 
of the old, old story. 

The Djerba story, however, seemed so circum- 
stantial and arose out of so prosaic an adventure 
that there was more than a touch of probability in 
its presentation. 

A sponge diver had reported the discovery to M. 
Renoux, governor of the Me of Djerba, who gave 
me a copy of the diver's statement, which said 
that, one day, while diving for sponges off the island, 
and in the gulf of Bougara, he came to the walls and 
windows of a sunken city. He estimated the depth 
at sixteen yards, and said that he had seen the 
fishes swimming in and out of the windows. 

The ruins, he said, were situated between Djerba 
and the mainland at Gigthis, and as soon as a party 
could be organised he would show us the place. For 
verification during my American lecture tours, I 
asked the Governqr to corroborate the diver's story. 
I was going to Missouri 

The Governor willingly sent me an affidavit in 
due and proper form, and with that document as 

184 



DJERBA AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

evidence I began the organisation of an expedition 
under the sea, and was fortunate enough to find 
people willing to subscribe several thousands of dol- 
lars for a preliminary survey of the locality. 

When I returned to Djerba, however, the diver 
had unfortunately died, and the former Governor, 
M. Renoux, had been promoted. A new governor 
was in charge, and I had to begin the survey with a 
very slender indication of the exact site of the city. 
The new Governor, M. Pagnon, courteously assisted 
us, and put me into touch with Dr. Rhossetos, a 
Greek sponge merchant, who in turn immediately 
communicated with the Greek Sponge Divers 5 Asso- 
ciation of Sfax, with the result that, after a custom- 
ary fortnight's parley, we obtained the ships from 
Sfax and several expert divers. 

We were ready to begin as soon as the authorities 
would let us, but time was lost in obtaining official 
permission It is quite proper that there should be 
official cognisance taken of such expeditions, and 
proper that work should only be permitted under 
certain conditions, but in this case our contact was 
with two widely different departments. The Serv- 
ices des Antiquites knew us, and understood our 
mission, but the department of Travaux Publiques 
looked at the enterprise from another angle. 

The trouble was, of course, that we were going to 
explore in a region of sponge fisheries, and as it 
was the breeding season the authorities thought 
we might damage the fields Finally everything 

185 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

was explained to the satisfaction of eveiy official 
of every department, and I received the necessary 
permits and documents, while the officials protected 
themselves by detailing a coastguard officer to watch 
us and our operations 

In a few days we interviewed all the local author- 
ities and I had the satisfaction of seeing the first 
diver go overboard. 

It is said quickly, but, unless you have worked with 
sponge divers, whose imagination is baffling, it is 
difficult to convey all the excitement of the prelim- 
inaries. Every man had seen "walls and windows 
under the sea/' and the dean of divers had seen them 
several times. He was a wrinkled old buccaneer, 
who looked as though someone had dealt with him 
as the Romans dealt with Carthage, plowed up his 
face. Everlastingly he was gazing down into the 
water, wildly gesticulating, and incessantly shouting 
"Houni! Houni!" (here, here), but if every place 
he "hounied" had been part of the city it would 
have put New York to shame for dimension 

He was ably seconded by the Caid of Adjim, a 
jolly old rogue, who considered us insane to the 
last man, especially when, one day, a member of 
the expedition asked VIITYI if it was possible to get a 
collection of scorpions together, to be sent to New 
York. He ordered the "round up" of the scorpions, 
and turned to his under-caid saying "Can you beat 
it? Half these people are hunting for a city under 
the sea, absolutely useless as a city, and the other 

186 



DJERBA AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

half want to send scorpions to their relatives! Mad- 
ness and murder f " 

Doubtless you are waiting for that diver to come 
up again, and feel that he has been long enough 
under water, but these divers can stay under a long 
time, and before we let him rise again I want to say 
a word of thanks to MM. Henoux and Pagnon, the 
former and the present Governors of the Isle of 
Djerba. They gave us unstinted help, and put all 
the officials of the island at our disposal. That was 
great friendship* The Greek ships and the divers 
were at Djerba, but it took us several days to round 
up the members of our crew from the cafes of Houmt 
Souk, the capital, which appealed more to tibeir 
imagination than the submerged city. Not the 
Lotus flower, but Chianti Rosso was the lure of the 
crew of our ships. Ulysses fared better. 

But the diver has been down long enough, and 
several others with him. I am afraid the disap- 
pointment was great. They rose having discovered 
nothing except that the currents were strong, even 
down on the sea floor, and that it was not going to 
be a very easy treasure hunt. 

Still, we made a picturesque scene. We sailed 
out of Adjim five vessels strong, quite a fleet. There 
were three Arab feluccas and two Greek ships, and 
the Greeks had their flags flying, and their crews 
were vastly excited Weather was fair, but the 
sea choppy after a heavy wind. 

For three days we had no success. Our divers 

187 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

went gaily away in their bright-sailed Berber boats, 
and we followed after, accompanied by a sixth, the 
cat-boat of the Government's observer, who proved 
to be a great discovery. He was a jovial Breton 
from Lochmariaquer, near Carnac (the land of the 
Dolmens), and it was not long before we found that 
we had friends in common. Thereafter he never 
missed a moment of the hunt during the whole of 
the ten days we were occupied. He was a most 
interesting character, a hero of the submarine war 
in the Mediterranean. 

Success became distant, and we fell back on to our 
own preliminary explorations, made while we were 
waiting for the officials to give us permission to go 
ahead. 

We had used those days in scouting around and 
questioning the natives, who, as usual sent us off 
on many a wild goose chase, and put us once in a 
while into real danger, just for the fun of the 
thing. 

Every nation has its own peculiar sense of humour, 
but for sheer peculiarity commend me to the Arab. 
We set out from the shore where we believed we 
were at the site of an old Spanish fortress, and 
puHed away. Our diver went down, not naked 
as the romanticists would have it, but clad for his 
work in the modern accoutrements. We put him 
into his clumsy suit, and screwed on his heavy 
helmet, adjusted the massive shoulder weights and 
leaden shoes, and started the pump before we closed 

188 



DJERBA AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

the window of his headgear. Then, with the life-line 
round his waist clear of all obstructions, we lowered 
him. 

The Arabs had made no mention of the sudden 
change of current, nor had they given us any indica- 
tion of its force, and we were calmly working away, 
trying to lose no time. I suppose, in all, we were 
there several hours, and engrossed in the work, when 
a sudden squall struck us. There might have been 
warning enough for the weather-wise, but we had 
not seen the clouds banking up, and the tempest 
hit us, full and heavy. Our anchors dragged, and 
our motor failed to start. Some of us tried to get 
the diver aboard again, while the rest pulled like 
madmen at the oars. We boarded the diver after 
I firmly believed that it was too late, but happily 
the man had suffered no harm. 

It took us all our time to keep the little ship from 
being pounded on the rocks, and nothing could get 
near us, for we were in the very middle of a nest of 
sharp-pointed crags, and the way out was narrow. 

The ropes of our anchors nearly broke, and the 
ship gradually drove nearer to the shore, dragging 
the anchors from their hold. The engineer was 
frantic, the motor positively refused to budge, and 
we could see the rocks waiting. We actually hit, 
and began to pound. The weight of the sea and the 
force of the wind swung us against the points and 
washed us off again, to bump once more. And then 
the stubborn motor relented, and we breathed. 

189 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

But there was hardly enough strength left in the lot 
of us to steer a course to safety. 

It was a good joke, from the point of view of the 
Arabs, but, as I said before, humour is a peculiarly 
national matter in application and appreciation. 

When the early attempts of the bigger expedi- 
tion brought no results we began to ask questions 
again, and gathered that we should stand as good a 
chance near the scene of our adventure as anywhere. 

It was at four-thirty in the afternoon of the 
24th of May, 1925, that Michael Cocinos went over- 
board there, and my eyes watched first the thin 
stream of bubbles that broke on the surface, and 
then the horizon, to see if anything threatened to 
break in that direction. Cocinos was assisted by 
two other divers, and I felt a weight of responsibil- 
ity that was hard to bear, at the thought of three 
men risking their lives for us, and had a moment's 
regret that I had ever undertaken the expedition to 
discover a ruined city at the bottom of such a depth 
of water. 

Naturally, I remembered the Governor's story 
of how one poor man had lost his life down there, 
his air tube and life-line entangled somehow in what 
might have been the doorways and windows of the 
lost city. Another man had struggled for five 
hours, and even the casual Arab divers, who go 
down naked, said that they had lost a friend in lie 
mysterious ruins* 

At the end of ten minutes, the sailor standing 

190 



DJERBA. AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

in the bows with the life line felt a tug, the signal 
that the diver was coming up again. TVe crowded 
into the bows, and our cameras and moving picture 
machines were concentrated on the silvery bubbles 
that told where the diver was. In the clear green 
we could make out the great helmet, and we began 
to hope. We could hardly wait to get him out of his 
gear, to hear the tale of his discoveries. Everybody 
helped to get him aboard, and we were extremely 
solicitous for his comfort. No company ever hung 
on the words of Demosthenes so eagerly as we did on 
the faltering account as it was translated by Dr. 
Rhossetos. 

All we learned was that the currents were still 
strong, and that the diver had been carried off his 
feet by the eddies, sometimes falling into deeps, 
sometimes scrambling up the shallowing earth. 

Another man went down, burdened with our 
hopes and fears. He went over gently, down, 
down, unceasing in his descent. The record 
showed five, ten, fifteen, twenty metres. It was 
too much, we held our breath, hoping that the rope 
would stop sliding into the sea, but it went to twenty- 
five and then to thirty metres. 

"He has fallen into a hole," said Dr. Rhossetos, 
and we believed him, but the bubbles began to spread 
on the surface, and we knew that the diver was being 
carried by the current. Orders were quickly given 
to haul him aboard again, and he was white and 
exhausted when we saw him. 

191 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

"Too fast a current/' was the verdict of the 
experts, and I am afraid our hearts fell as did our 
faces. We were very downcast, and the practical 
Greeks did not help us to great enthusiasm when 
they said we should have to wait for the changing 
tides, so that the men could go down in safety. The 
currents cease for one hour between ebb and flow 
That meant we could work for about three hours a 
day. 

Of course, everything was done at the wrong mo- 
ment. Our kind advisors said that we had chosen 
the wrong time of the year, we had chosen the wrong 
time of the day, and apparently we had chosen the 
wrong place. 

The currents between Djerba and the mainland 
are strongest in May. It was May when we found 
that out 

It meant that fifty men would be idle for the 
greater part of the day, and few expeditions can 
afford to have fifty men idle. That must be the pre- 
rogative of commerce. We held a council of war, and 
decided to make as thorough an exploration of the 
neighborhood as possible T$hilst waiting for the 
tides. 

In that, at least, we were well advised. Gigthis, 
Zarzis, Meninx, Tipasa, the villa Magda, were all 
within easy reach, and, with one of the ships, we 
visited the ruins of the old Spanish fortresses, one of 
which is still standing, Bordj-Castille. The other 
lies in the water, a complete ruin. 

192 



DJERBA: AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

In addition we were able to make some survey 
of the submarine ruins of Guallala, a town of the 
island. These particular ruins had been seen by the 
Berber sponge divers and proved to be something 
of a reward for our disappointing efforts elsewhere. 
The ruins are regular in size, and lie about three 
hundred yards from the shore, at a depth varying 
from two to ten yards. I followed a rectangular 
wall for many yards into the sea, and was amazed to 
find that the point furthest from land had a great 
circular wall, which could clearly be seen. Our 
divers immediately followed up this discovery, and 
reported that the wall was composed of white stone 
blocks. 

The walls were amazingly constructed, and beau- 
tifully regular, and the reports were so enthusiastic 
that I decided to go down and investigate for my- 
self Everybody told me that it was sheer folly, 
but neither threats of deafness or promises of paraly- 
sis deterred me, and I was soon being screwed into 
the stuffy suit. The sensation corresponded exactly 
with my idea of being buried alive. The more 
they screwed me in the less confident I felt. The 
neck pieces were assuredly heavier than usual, and 
the shoes were precisely three times more cumber- 
some than the occasion demanded. Of course, 
Mr Kellerman would not reject the opportunity for 
a picture, and asked me to smile nicely for the cam- 
era, which I did, but he later told me that it was 
about the best imitation of a man en route for the 

193 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

scaffold that he had ever seen. I did my best for 
him, though. The more I looked over the side into 
the sea the darker it seemed, and the more I wished 
I had listened to the warnings of my advisors* At 
that moment, however, they were adjusting the life- 
line, and the full weight of lead was on my shoulders. 
To this day I have full sympathy for rats in traps. 

I knew that I had to press a button in my helmet, 
with the side of my head, in order to let out the air 
and descend, and that was a useful thing to remem- 
ber. Two men lifted my weighted legs over the 
side, as though they were preparing to bury a dead 
man, and the crowd at the side of the ship seemed as 
much like mourners as possible. I suffocated, and 
fancied that the air pipe was out of order, and was 
quite certain that the life-line would break on the 
slightest provocation. 

The heat was dreadful, and I made frantic signs 
that I wanted to take off my helmet and get a 
drink (which I had forgotten)* The crew, who had 
been so excited by the idea of my going down, were 
jumping all over the place in glee, including every- 
body but the moving picture operator it is strange 
how these movie men can keep to the main idea 
and he wanted to get the best possible view. He 
did. 

My signs had at least some result. One man at 
last went back to his job, just in time. He went to 
the pump and gave me air. No wonder it was hot, 
and I was suffocating. Evidently the poor man, in 

194 



DJERBA: AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

the excitement of the moment, had lost his head, 
and my life didn't count for two hoots in comparison 
with the opportunity for a gorgeous film. They had 
forgotten that one must breathe. 

The next act was equally to their liking. I was 
dropped over with a splash, as though I were a 
corpse. I really believed I should be, for I was 
more miserable under water than I had been on deck. 
Everything was green and strange, and there was a 
loud clatter in my ears. I moved my head, and 
found the valve to let out the air, and down I went 
the faster, watching the bubbles climbing up to 
the surface. I hit the sea floor, and though I would, 
I may not express my consternation when I found I 
could not walk. Was it necessary to hobble me 
with so much lead? 

I looked through my window, and everything was 
grotesque, in green and blue. Since I could not 
walk, I tried to crawl, losing hold of the life-line, 
and grew a little panicky in consequence, I could 
not regain the line and therefore could not signal to be 
hauled up, though I was quite ready to go. I won- 
dered then what they would do, how my wife and 
child were, and what would happen when the news 
came. Those crack-brained zealots upstairs might 
forget to keep on with the air supply. Then every- 
thing went dark. I managed to look through the 
top window, and found I was under the ship. How 
funny it looked. Then I thought I had found the 
life-line, and pulled hard on it, three times. There 

195 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

was no answer. I was sure the watcher in the bows 
had gone to sleep. The perspiration rolled off me. I 
felt a trickle down my neck, and was convinced that 
the water was leaking through the rotten old suit, 
and that I was to be drowned like a rat Why? 
well, just why didn't they pull me up? Then 
I found out. I was tugging away for dear life at the 
cords that held the weights round my neck. 

After the Romans and the Vandals, and all the 
other inhabitants of the island had been resurrected 
and lived and died again, I found the life-line. If 
the watcher in the bows were asleep, I guarantee 
that my signals waked him, for more trickles were 
running down my neck. 

Something went crack, it was my helmet fouling 
the ship on the way up. That ought to have been 
the finish, and I was reconciled to death, except that 
there was plenty of air coming along, and I could 
still breathe. My suit bulged like a balloon, and I 
must have resembled a long dead hippopotamous 
when I reached the surface, skimming the side of 
the hull as I rose. I was hauled up the ladder, but, 
since I could not move my feet once they came out 
of the water, I was ignominiously dragged aboard. 

My helmet was whisked off, and I took a long, deep 
breath, gave thanks for my restoration, and looked 
around. 

"How long have I been down? 5 ' I gasped. 

"About five minutes/* said the Captain. "What 
did you come up for?" 

196 




Count de Prorok preparing to dive at Djerbc 



DJERBA: AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

Thereafter I took a much keener interest in the 
scaphanders, as the professional divers are called, 
who live their lives in diving suits and work on the 
floor of the sea. 

They repaid the attention, for their life is inter- 
esting even if it is hazardous. It is worth while 
watching them as they go out, from either shore or 
supply boat, to their tasks. They are rowed by 
Arabs, who manipulate their boats much as the 
slaves of Carthage and Rome must have done. The 
native oarsmen use gigantic sweeps, which must be 
between fifteen and twenty feet long, and they row 
with all their might, and with- every muscle of their 
bodies. Standing, barefooted in the well of the boat, 
they grip the thwart with their toes toes that 
have not been demuscled by civilisation facile, 
easy toes that grip like fingers. Then they bend 
over the shaft of the sweep bent dose to their chests, 
slowly rise, gripping the oar tightly, and, grunting 
in unison, they fling themselves backwards with all 
their strength and energy. 

The scaphander is, of course, the nub of the 
sponge trade, and, being the nub, seldom makes 
much personal progress* The result of his efforts goes 
to the rich merchants who handle the immense trade 
in sponges. The divers get fairly good pay, but are 
so much at the mercy of their overseers that it is not 
uncommon for them to make private bargains for 
lenient treatment. 

It is easy to recognise the diver ashore. He 

197 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

drags his feet with difficulty; sign of diver's paralysis. 
Paralysis claims many victims. The percentage of 
death in pursuit of their occupation rises to nearly 
ten per cent per annum. Sooner or later, the effect 
of working for long stretches under terrific pressure 
is apparent. Local anaemia and general disorder 
show their hateful signs, but, singularly enough, 
even the most paralytic of the divers recovers the 
use of his limbs when he gets to the sea bed. 

The French and the Greeks have co-operated in 
the main sponge fields for the welfare of the divers 
A hospital ship is in attendance, and there is a divers' 
hospital ashore, but for all the precautions many cases 
escape the attention of the authorities. The fixed 
limit at which men may work, by law, is established 
at thirty-eight metres, but the overseers have a way 
of their own in manipulating the recording instru- 
ments, so that they show a different pressure. It is 
known that frequently the men work at fifty metres, 
and occasionally at sixty, and, if the overseer thinks 
they haven't worked long enough, he ignores their 
signals to come up. The divers try to get even, and 
inflate their suits, when they blob up like corks, 
only to be driven down again, if the foreman thinks 
fit. These little antagonisms cost the divers much 
more than they cost the men on the ship, for, by 
forcing himself quickly to the surface the diver 
hastens paralysis, if he does not break a few blood 
vessels on the way. 

Tales are told, on the coast ? of divers who have 

198 



DJERBA. AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

disappeared, and of others who have been "buried 
at sea" sewn up in coarse sacking, and whose death 
has never been reported. The tale still persists of 
an old diver who was left down below, because he 
was too old to carry on his work. 

When the sponge fleet is at work, if one can forget 
the miseries of the workers, or if by good fortune the 
captain is one of the humane men who looks after 
his crew, it is an interesting sight. 

There are humane men in the sponge trade, and 
some captains run for fifteen years or more, without 
losing a man. They never have difficulty securing 
a crew. 

The sponges are sorted, roughly, before they are 
gathered, for the divers are able to recognise the good 
and the unmarketable. Working along the bottom 
for about forty minutes, they collect their haul, 
and tuck the sponges away into a net. When they 
come to the surface, the divers give their first atten- 
tion to their catch, for often they work on a profit- 
sharing basis. Then the diver gets out of his gear, 
but one is hardly out of his suit before another is 
over the side. Time is precious. 

The sponges are trodden out by barefooted sailors, 
and strung on lines, to be trailed behind the ship for 
several hours, after which they are soundly beaten 
with heavy sticks, to clear them of shells and other 
refuse, soaked again, and bleached in a tub of weak 
oxalic acid. 

With the big fleets there are supply boats and 

199 



DIGGING FOE LOST AFRICAN GODS 

tenders, and the divers' boats frequently stay away 
from port for several weeks. The supply boats, 
or cutters, come to port with nearly every inch of 
their rigging hung with dripping sponges. To the 
sensitive nose there are disadvantages. 

The native Arab divers, called " common " divers, 
escape the ills of the scaphanders, since they work for 
only a minute or two before returning to the sur- 
face. 

Clutching a small boulder in their hand, they 
dive straight down, often to a depth of thirty-five to 
forty metres, and, working rapidly, bring up their 
haul. One who has never seen them at work before 
is likely to imagine that some dogfish has got them, 
for they can stay under water several minutes. I 
think the record is five, but I have seen them stay 
down for three minutes, and a terribly long time it 
seems. 

We had several exhibitions of their extraordinary 
skill in diving for sponges and for fish. They go 
hunting for large snake-like eels that live in cran- 
nies, where the octopus also makes his home. They 
catch the fish by tickling them. 

As specimens of humanity, these naked divers are 
magnificent. Their heads are worth the artist's 
inspired moments, for they are pure Berber, de- 
scendants of the native sea-farers of the Mediterra- 
nean, and they swim and handle a ship as though they 
were born in the sea. I made good friends with 
them, and as a parting gift when we left I gave them 

00 



DJERBA: AND SUBMARINE EXPLORATION 

our tiny portable gramophone, in memory of our 
quest for a city under the sea. In return they made 
me a present of enough sponges to serve me and my 
family, and my friends and their families, for the 
remainder of our natural lives. 

Endless are the stories of their endurance, and 
many a terrible tale we listened to over our evening 
meal on the way back to Djerba. The divers have 
to diet strenuously, but no such restriction lay on 
us We parted from them, eventually, on the eve 
of their departure for the high seas and the greater 
fields, where they work at a toil unceasing, under the 
fierce glare of the mid-summer African sun, to gather 
sponges for us who seldom give a thought to the 
trade, if even we know how to think about it. 

Frequently now, when the soft texture of one of 
their sponges helps me to enjoyment and cleanliness, 
I think of their hard lives, of the diseases that wait 
round the corner for the scaphanders, of the dangers 
that lie hidden; a choked air pipe, a vicious dog fish, 
a tangled life-line, and the great silence, the intimi- 
dating enormity of the isolation of the sea bed. I 
wish that Hood had known. Then, perhaps, a 
world that takes most of its boons casually might 
have learned of the terrible monotony and hard- 
ship. Not "Stitch, Stitch, Stitch/ 5 but, "Dive 
Dive, Dive," for sponges that are won at the risk of 
a man's life. 



01 



CHAPTER XH 

THE CITT UNDER THE SEA AND THE SUNKEN GALLEY 

AFTER my short apprenticeship to the life of a 
scaphander, we devoted our time to the investigation 
of the curious sea walls, and made several excursions 
into the island* 

There must have been a Roman settlement just 
below Guallala, the potter city, about three miles 
from El Kantara, which is the ancient Meninx. 
Rich marble ruins strew the ground, and one of our 
party dug up a beautiful Roman lamp dating from 
about the first century. Some of the stucco we 
found, resembled closely that at the Punic temple of 
Tanit in Carthage, and it is quite probable that we 
shall discover what remains of a Carthaginian store- 
house here. That remains to be proved, of course, 
but when time and our arrangements permit, we 
shall make a complete investigation. 

The walls commanded our most earnest attention, 
for we had allotted little time to the expedition, and 
much of that had been lost owing to the exigencies 
of the conditions under which we worked The sub- 

202 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

marine works of this city whose name we do not 
know, are very similar to the drawings made by 
Daux of the Phoenician structures on the North 
African coast; good examples of which can be seen 
at Utica and at Carthage, We even hoped that the 
circular building under the sea at this spot might be 
the admiralty tower of the Tynan or Carthaginian 
settlers. 

The place is certainly wortib a complete examina- 
tion, and when we reported these well-preserved 
walls to the Governor of the Island, he promised 
his full co-operation for a complete examination next 
year. It will benefit the Island, incidentally, for 
visitors to be able to see submarine traces of the 
greatest sailors in the history of the Mediterranean. 
That possibility always is uppermost in the minds of 
the inhabitants, for wherever exploration is going 
forward, if it is within any reasonable distance, tour- 
ists flock in considerable numbers to watch progress, 
and tourists are a valuable commodity to the natives 

We returned to Adjim, about fifteen miles from 
El Kantara. This we had made our headquarters, 
and we spent some time in charting the currents, and 
working out the tides, that we might discover the 
best time to work. 

While we were sailing through the straits, on these 
preliminary surveys I had noticed, nearly opposite 
the place where we believed lay our greatest possi- 
bility of success, traces of ruins in the clay cliffs. 
We landed, and our surmise was affirmed, there was 

203 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

undoubtedly another settlement here, for the ruins 
we had seen were fragments of Roman masonry and 
cisterns. Then it seemed quite feasible to suppose 
that it was traces of this dead city that had been 
found by the divers, continuing to the sea. We 
hunted for signs of roads on the summit of the cliffs, 
and picked up old coins and pottery in the mass of 
powdered ruins. This city, like Meninx and Gual- 
lala, looked as though it hadjbeen ground to dust 
and ashes. By whom this was done, and how, and 
why, probably we shall never know. 

It is obvious, however, that the crumbling rocks 
of the place are filtering slowly into the straits, due 
to erosion by the violent and rapid currents. 

With this additional clue, we continued in the 
straits, and soon found more encouraging signs. 
But news of the work began to get around, and the 
usual congregation of sightseers, tourists and others, 
made the island their rendezvous, often to the em- 
barrassment of our work. They came out from the 
mainland in Arab dhows and nearly crowded us into 
the sea. 

A storm suddenly broke one afternoon, and the 
tourists found themselves drenched to the skin. Our 
moving picture operator on another occasion used 
language strong enough .Jo keep off a troublesome 
party, and finally we were compelled to make it 
plain that tourists would not be permitted on the 
spot when work was actually in progress. 

On the sixth day, our second diver reported that 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

he had at last seen what he thought was an object 
imbedded in a stone wall. 

It was little enough of a discovery, but it filled 
us with intense excitement, which rose higher when 
the diver went down, to return again with an object 
that we could recognise as the work of man, even 
while the diver was yet below the surface. We 
restrained ourselves sufficiently to be careful in haul- 
ing the find aboard, and then we minutely scrutin- 
ised it. The one question that was in everybody's 
mind was "Have we found the lost city?" 

The object brought to the surface was actually the 
remains of three amphores imbedded in six inches 
of sea growth, barnacles and molluscs. Time, and 
the weight and flow of the sea had ground them into 
a solid mass weighing about sixty pounds. The 
diver explained that it was only with extreme diffi- 
culty that he had been able to detach this significant 
relic, but he believed that with a pick-axe he could 
dislodge some of the stones and bricks of things he 
said looked like walls. 

Our first task was to film and photograph the first 
clue, after which we buoyed the spot, and then 
Cocinas went over the side armed with a pick-axe, 
and carrying a rope. 

He went down slowly, as if to torment us, and we 
read off those metres much more eagerly than we 
had ever read measurements before. When he had 
gone five metres, there was a slackening, and it was 
not till he reached fifteen, that we were half-way 

205 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

satisfied that he was doing his best, but when he was 
at sixteen, we shouted. The recorder stopped there, 
the exact depth that had been given by the diver, 
since dead, who had reported his find to the Governor. 

Then we forgot to watch the diver, and waited for 
the man in the bows who was holding the life-line. 
We saw the line become taut. It was the first sig- 
nal, and eagerly we hauled on the loose rope. An 
object was coming up, slowly. It had little shape or 
form, but when it broke the surface, we saw with 
unutterable delight that it was another marred piece 
of pottery. The cheers we raised were unintelli- 
gible, but they were at least expressive. The sea 
was yielding some of its secrets. All the long days 
of hard labour and keen disappointment were for- 
gotten. Only the whole-hearted explorer can realise 
what our satisfaction was. We had striven hard, 
and for reward had recovered two or three bits of 
useless earth. But that earth had been worked by 
men who made history, and they turned surmise into 
certainty. No man, I suppose, ever wishes to 
undergo a past effort again, or to suffer even the 
echoes of his disappointment, but I would willingly 
take all the hardships of five years of intensive ex- 
ploration again, to recapture the thrill of satisfac- 
tion that went through me then. 

Even the most sceptical was satisfied that we had 
hit upon something tangible, something that marked 
an epoch in archaeology. We had, however, to 
guard against too high hopes, and to damper our op- 

06 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

timism, lest we should announce as an established 
fact what after all was only a very strong indication. 
Mr. Streit, the correspondent of the New York 
T^mes 9 who was with us, sent a very guarded tele- 
gram to his paper, announcing the result of our 
work. 

The tides and weather then turned against us, 
and we had to go ashore, a bitter necessity indeed, 
but we used the time to good advantage by finding 
another ruined city several miles north-west of the 
Adjun landing. Here were evidences of rich build- 
ings, and the outline of a temple on the water's 
edge. Nothing has been discovered concerning 
these towns or villages, there is no historical allu- 
sion which we can definitely ascribe to them, names 
are wanting, and the archaeological department 
of our expeditions knows very little of the region. 
Djerba offers a huge study; in less than a month 
we located half a dozen ruined settlements. 

May the twentieth saw us again on the sea, and 
gave us our second great thrill. Our diver had been 
down only eight minutes when he sent up a series of 
tugs on the line. 

"This looks as though he had really discovered 
something," said the captain. 

At that Mr. Kellerman jumped forward. "Clear 
a space for the camera/ 5 he shouted. "If anything 
does come up, Pathe News gets it first!" 

But the New York Times correspondent was along- 
side, and I believe the rest of us gazed into the sea 

SOT 



DIGGING FOE LOST AFRICAN GODS 

at the spot where the bubbles were rising, just as 
though somebody had hypnotised us. 

A blur showed through the green, and then the 
blur took shape, and I saw, far down in the clear 
water, a beautiful Phoenician amphore, sea-en- 
crusted. As though it were the slenderest glass, it 
was lifted from the water, to be followed by the 
diver, who came up with his pick-axe in his hand, 
and showed by very definite gesticulations that he 
wanted his helmet off at once, so that he could share 
in the excitement. 

The atmosphere and the sun seemed to realise 
that everything must contribute to the importance 
of the occasion, and the scene will live in my memory 
for many years: late afternoon with the sky cloud- 
less, and the sun bright; an excited group of men in 
the bows of a tiny ship that lay on a sea so calm 
as to rebuke our noise, and the low-lying shore of the 
Isle of the Lotus Eaters outlined like a great jewel on 
a silver strand, 

We put the amphore on a mat in the centre of 
the ship. It stood about four feet high, with its 
two handles still intact, and its pointed base undam- 
aged. Its perfection testified to the extreme care 
of the diver who had recovered it, and for which 
I was more grateful than I knew how to say* 

Sea shells, fungi and sponges clung to the sides, 
but its general form and its dimensions were iden- 
tical with the amphores discovered at Carthage 
by Pere Delattre in the earliest Phoenician tombs. 

208 




Dner at Djerba, with Amphores 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

An important feature, which aids in identification 
of the period, is the opening. In this respect the 
Phoenician amphores differ from those of the 
Romans. 

The Arabs and Berbers were all amazed at the 
vase, and were unanimous In declaring that no 
such pottery had ever been made at Djerba. 

On the way back to Houmt Souk, we informed 
the Governor of our find, and he instantly asked if 
he, with the Caid, might be present at the following 
day's operations. 

The next day, however, was very windy, and the 
Governor postponed his visit, but nothing short of a 
hurricane would have held us back. The divers 
themselves were urging us on, and piling up excite- 
ment on excitement. They were real hunters after 
treasure. 

Just the same, when we reached buoy, we decided 
that it would be better not to send a man down, as 
the seas were breaking over our little vessel, but 
nothing on earth could stop our No. 2 man from 
going over. The result was that we only barely 
escaped disaster. 

He had been down a while when we received the 
signal to haul him, but when we tried to raise him, 
the rope would not give, and we knew that our 
man was caught, deep down. With our hearts in 
our mouths, we started the motor, and bore against 
the current, which, lashed by the wind, was stronger 
than usual. The Greek members of the crew were 

209 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

pale and anxious, they needed no interpretation of 
the misadventure. We pulled at the life-line again, 
and doubled the men at the pumps, but to no avail 
For ten minutes that we counted by the seconds, 
we stared at the bubbles that still rose to the surface 
our thoughts on the tragedy beneath. We knew 
that our diver was seventy feet down, and wondered 
if he had got caught in the windows or doorways of 
the submerged ruins. Such a case had been re- 
ported only a few years ago 

We were just on the point of sending help down, 
as a forlorn hope, when the line jerked, and the sailor 
holding it, screamed for very relief. The diver was 
loose at last. A few moments later, we saw the 
motionless form of our explorer rise to the surface, 
and float face down. Our hearts stopped beating 
again, for fear he had been wounded. We hauled 
him in, and saw his deathlike face through the win- 
dow, and I saw a trickle of blood at his nostrils. 

He lay absolutely motionless for several minutes 
before he gave any signs of life, but we did all we 
"could, and after administering a strong stimulant, 
saw the colour begin to come back into his face. 

He had had a terrible struggle for life. The cur- 
rent had carried him under the overhanging rocks, in 
utter darkness. Imprisoned there, he sensed that 
the current had changed, and was growing stronger 
every moment, lessening his slender chance of es- 
cape. We learned, afterwards that he had tried to 
make steps in the sand, to get leverage so that he 

210 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

might push himself out, but as often as he braced 
himself, the sand gave way, and he was washed back 
again into the recess. 

It was the changing of the position of our ship 
that helped him, finally, and as he swung clear, he 
lost consciousnes3. 

Naturally there was no more diving that day, and 
we returned to Adjim. 

Work began again on the twenty-second of May, 
in glorious weather. M. Louis Pagnon, the Gov- 
ernor of the Isle of Djerba, the Caid, the Greek 
Consul of Sfax, and many other people paid us an 
official visit in the afternoon. 

Before they arrived, in our morning's work, we 
had recovered two more amphores, and several bricks 
of varying size, which tie divers said came from 
walls that were approximately six feet high at that 
point. The most wonderful of the specimens we 
brought to the surface that morning was a six- 
handled vase, which the diver reported to have 
been lying about a foot below the level of the sea 
floor. 

We called a halt, to give the men a rest, for the 
work was strenuous, and they had had a continuous 
battle against tides and currents for some days, and 
were driving themselves that morning, without any 
urging from us. 

As a relaxation, we busied ourselves tidying up the 
ship, for it was something of a gala occasion, and 
almost anybody would have enjoyed the delightful 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

luncheon, acquired by our divers, that was spread 
out on the canvas-covered deck. 

The sea behaved excellently for our visitors, for 
when work commenced again, the divers made one 
extraordinary find after another. Pieces of cor- 
roded bronze, shoals of bricks, remains of a large 
number of amphores and one undamaged specimen 
were raised, to the astonishment of the Governor and 
the Caid. 

The Governor grew increasingly excited. 

Even so slight a thing as the broken lip of an old 
pottery vase brought exclamations of rapture from 
him. He is one of those rare men who has a flair 
for excavation and gets the maximum of adventurous 
enjoyment out of the work. 

The Caid was a little more matter of fact, but 
every bit as impressed, and gave us his considered 
judgment on our finds, insisting that every relic 
was of a manufacture unknown, and never seen 
before on the Island. He said he had seen ancient 
vases somewhat similar to ours. 

The Governor, becoming the Official again, saw 
to the documentation of our finds and questioned 
the divers, taking their statements. The Greek 
Consul then formally took the divers* sworn affi- 
davits. 

It was our last day's work, and our little expedi- 
tion was being disbanded for the while. The pro- 
fessional divers were due to depart for the main 
sponge fields, and our own time was ended. 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

Before we left, however, we photographed and 
filmed the entire party, and all our specimens, in 
which figured six amphores, four vases, eight bronze 
pieces, and a score of bricks. All these, with the 
mass of fragments of pottery, were measured and 
catalogued. 

Then we sailed back to Djerba, our expedition 
under the sea finished for a while. The little phono- 
graph played Hawaiian music, while the Greek crew 
and the divers sat around, smiles lighting up their 
weather-scarred faces. As we sat there after dinner, 
Michael Cocinas told us the tale of the sunken 
Treasure Galley at Mahdia, and how he, himself, 
dug out and saved the beautiful ancient Greek 
statues now in the Bardo museum at Tunis. 

We filled our pipes, and sipped Samien wine, and 
Dr Khossetos interpreted the tale as Cocinas told it, 
more like a bed-time fairy story than actuality. 

Cocinas has a mind for the spectacular, but the 
story would have been thrilling if it had come from 
the mouth of a much more phlegmatic person. It 
worked me to a pitch of excitement that only my 
friends can imagine, for I have long believed that 
the bed of the Mediterranean is as rich in archaeolog- 
ical treasures as is the soil of North Africa, and my 
hope has been that some day I might really attack 
that field in earnest. To hear the gnarled old diver 
talking along, and to see Dr. Ehossetos grow excited 
in his haste to keep up in translation, was glorious. 
It certainly gave me the last word in a few discus- 

13 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

sions that had taken place between the sceptics and 
me. 

However, listen to Cocinas. 

"It was in the spring of 1907 that a party of 
Scaphandra, or sponge-divers, sailed over a spot a 
few kilometres northeast of the old Phoenician ruins 
of Mahdia. They saw a row of long cylinders in the 
mud at the bottom of the sea. 

"TVhen they got back to Sfax they told the author- 
ities that they had seen a lot of cannon at a depth of 
thirty-nine metres, and were laughed at for their 
tale. A few days later, though, native sponge-divers, 
who took their naked plunge to the spot, came back 
terrified. They swore they had seen sleeping giants 
down there, and they were so certain that the Gov- 
ernment Official at Sfax made them make a state- 
ment on oath. 

"That brought in the "Services des Antiquites* 
from Tunis, who started to verify the tales. They 
worked under the direction of M. Merlin. 

"M. Merlin had trouble in getting divers. I 
knew he would. 5 * 

There are reasons for trouble with divers. They 
go on strike if they have the opportunity, as quickly 
as our own Arab workmen strike at Carthage. And 
they are every bit as superstitious. The sleeping 
giants of the sea were as good an excuse as a curse 
stone! 

"M. Merlin very nearly had a serious mutiny. 
That is where I came in, for it brought him to use 

214. 




Greek vase, 100 B c 
galley at Mahdia 



recovered from a sunken 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

this very ship, and so I was sent down to investigate 
the galley " 

Cocinas was very proud as he continued his story. 

"We had nearly as much trouble with the cur- 
rents/* he continued, "as we have had here. They 
were very strong and we worked at a great depth." 

He rattled on at a great speed. I have given a 
little of his story, because it is his story, and much of 
the credit for the final salving of treasures, whose 
worth cannot be measured by money, is due to 
him. 

The discovery of this sunken galley is actually 
one of the most outstanding archaeological finds of 
the century. 

Mahdia, for such as wish to trace it on the map, 
is a small Tunisian town, located near the promon- 
tory between the ruins of the ancient Thapsius 
and Sullecthum. 

When the first reports came through to M. Mer- 
lin, of the Services des Antiquites, he instantly com- 
manded a full investigation, and the so-called "can- 
non" or "Sleeping giants 55 of the divers* tales were 
resolved into a number of beautiful marble columns. 
Investigation showed that the columns were lying 
on the deck of the sunken vessel. 

The galley was situated about a quarter of a mile 
off the coast, at a depth of about one hundred and 
twenty feet. The depth of the sea, and the peculiar- 
ity and strength of the currents made exploration 
dangerous, and it took considerable time to find 

15 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

divers willing to undertake the work. In fact, at 
one time, tlie ships were anchored above the sunken 
wreck, and the divers refused, point-blank, to go 
down. 

Further pressure was exerted by the Services des 
Antiquit&s, and great help was given by two Amer- 
icans, Mr Hazen Hyde and the Duke of Loubat. 
The French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles 
Lettres also co-operated, and work was recommenced, 
culminating in a successful descent, and the recov- 
ery of certain objects. 

It was from M. Alfred ]\ r erlin himself that I 
learned of the supposed conditions which sent the 
galley to the sea floor. The vessel was probably a 
raider, laden with booty, from the siege of Athens 
by Scylla, in 79 B.C. It is well established that sev- 
eral ships were blown out of their course and lost, 
and the galley off Mahdia may well be one of these. 

Roman senators and wealthy citizens in those 
days used to issue their orders, commissioning cer- 
tain objects and possessions from the officers, well in 
advance. And the army did its best to keep the 
bargains. The treasures on the galleys were des- 
tined to ornament the country homes and palaces of 
the cream of Roman society, but the old -chap who 
was waiting for these particular columns, had a long 
wait 

It was difficult for the divers to unload the weighty 
masonry from the galley, but thanks to the ship- 
wreck, what was to have been an individual posses- 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

sion, now occupies a place of importance in a national 
museum. The trophies already recovered from the 
wreck are housed in the Bardo museum. 

The first great difficulty was the removal of the 
columns, which occupied part of the deck of the 
galley. It was their weight, most likely, that caused 
the vessel to capsize. 

Divers went down and attached cables to the 
piHars, and they were slowly raised from their muddy 
bed. 

tf After we had got several columns, 55 said Cocinas, 
"we started to dig away tons of mud/ 5 

At the end of ten days, working in torrid heat and 
squally weather, while his divers had been digging 
>away in relays, M. Merlin had the great satisfaction 
of seeing the first of the treasures rising to the sur- 
face. They were priceless vases and statuettes, and 
Cocinas had had a difficult job putting the wraps 
and ropes around them, working at that great 
depth. 

The actual recovery of the first specimen created 
a change of heart in the workers. Men who had 
been hunting for an excuse to strike much more 
eagerly than they had hunted for the galley, suddenly 
became violently enthusiastic, and the excitement 
of the treasure hunt became personal and intense. 

Through the days, M. Merlin stayed out on the 
ship, in the scorching sun. The divers hoped that 
they might discover gold, and when they were only 
rewarded by the discovery of vases that are more 

217 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

to be desired than gold, from an archaeological 
point of view, they went on strike again. 

The depth was too great, and their nerves began 
to break By promises and encouragement, how- 
ever, M. Merlin kept them at work during the sum- 
mer months, while the scientists of France anxiously 
waited for further news 

A month to an eager explorer is as short as the 
twilight, and certainly no disciple of Isaak Walton 
ever fished so patiently, or cast a line in greater 
hope than did M. Merlin. The result is said so 
briefly that my fear is it will not be appreciated 
To give the due importance to each find, one would 
have to take a book of a thousand pages, and in 
it write, as for the exercises imposed by a stern 
schoolmaster. "In 1908 was recovered from the 
bottom of the sea, the glorious Aphrodite, which 
now stands in the Bardo Museum " 

When that book was complete, in fine copper- 
plate, another should be started for the immortalisa- 
tion of the "Eros " And so on, to make a library 

It must fire the imagination of any amateur of 
the fine arts to realise that from the mud, where it 
has lain for centuries, a marvellous bronze "Eros" 
has been recovered. It is believed to be a duplicate 
of the Eros of Praxiteles. Several of the other 
specimens are signed by Boethus of Chalcedon, a 
sculptor of the second century B c. 

Among the collection are the grotesque dwarfs, 
magnificently modelled, dancing, and holding cas- 

18 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

tanets. Also, two heads of extreme beauty were 
found, which are believed to have been the figure- 
heads of the trireme. 

I asked the diver what he felt like, having brought 
up these treasures more than two thousand years 
old, and he replied in one word "Fine 1 " 

He was silent for a moment or two before he con- 
tinued. "But," he said, "it was only when, a few 
years later, I saw the dirty things I had tied to a 
rope, shapeless and caked with shells and mud and 
sand, that I knew how wonderful they were. They 
were all cleaned up, and on fine pedestals, in a 
beautiful room. Then they looked magnificent." 
He smiled as he said that. I really believe that he 
thinks archaeologists have a little right to live, mad 
as they are. 

The incrustations on the objects were, of course, 
extremely difficult to remove, but with care and 
patience they have been cleaned off, and several of 
them are found to be intact. 

Ever since I heard of the discovery, I have been 
hoping to organise an expedition to make a complete 
recovery; not only of the contents of the galley, but 
of the vessel itself, which is every bit as valuable 
as the cargo it carried. It is only in the last few 
months that the matter has even been mentioned 
by the newspapers, but we have high hopes of 
ultimate success. 

There has been more interest in the proposal to 
raise the galley lately, and if only Cocinas could tell 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

the tale again, of how he went down and grovelled 
along the bottom of the sea, finding bulky objects 
covered with sand and mud, there would be even 
greater interest. 

I am waiting for him to have another opportunity, 
so that he may come up to the surface, and tell us 
how he scooped off the sand with his hands, to see 
the metal faces staring up at him from their beds. 

M. Merlin has promised his full co-operation if 
ever we raise the necessary half million francs 
Divers, ships, equipment and all are ready, and if 
we are successful, the job can be finished in the 
months of May and June of 1926. 

The French Government is also actively interested 
in the project, and gave us a favourable answer when 
we asked for permission and their co-operation. The 
Government has been unable to do anything since 
the outbreak of war in this direction, but there is 
every probability of our receiving good help when 
we begin exploring 

The statues, vases, massive candelabra, and the 
many other relics brought out of the sea are only 
an earnest of the amount yet remaining submerged, 
for so far, only the deck cargo has been touched. 
The more valuable cargo lies in the hull of the galley, 
and it should be possible to recover nearly every- 
thing. 

We are hoping that Michael Cocinas will go down 
again in the early summer. And when this wreck 
is dealt with, there will be more work for him to do. 

220 



THE CITY UNDER THE SEA 

Of that there is no doubt, for we are only on the 
threshold of the treasure house of the Mediterranean 
There are secrets there for whose solution many 
people eagerly await. 



221 



CHAPTER XIII 

PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

THE Sahara is at once the largest and the least 
known of the deserts, and its actual exploration was 
only commenced in the seventeenth century. Since 
then, however, the company of heroic adventurers 
has stjadily grown. Caille first reached Timbuctoo, 
Speke and Grant traced the course of the Nile, and 
many others have added something to the little 
store of knowledge we possess. Von Rolfs and von 
Naehtigall, the intrepid Germans; Duveyrier, Flat- 
ters, and the heroic Pere de Foucauld, all three of 
France, complete the list of the original pathfinders, 
whose names are history. 

To them we may now add Hussenein-Bey, General 
Laperrine, and Mrs. Rosita Forbes, people of our 
generation. 

A great deal still remains to be done, vast tracts 
of territory must yet be uncovered. What many of 
these originators did, must be verified, their findings 
supported or corrected as the case may be, and there 
are regions whose extent is enormous, and are as 
yet utterly unknown. 




View of Sordj, Matmata, from Troglodyte dwett- 
i ig The savage land of prehistoric man taken 
from Cie interior of a caie 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

There are, I imagine, millions of people who pic- 
ture the Sahara as one vast seashore, a monotone of 
sand. Actually there is abundant colour there. 
The desert can be rainbow-hued, and it is by no 
means so derelict of human interest as its name 
would imply. In the most desolate regions of the 
Sahara, the traces of pre-historic man are multi- 
tudinous. Specimens of his handiwork can be 
found by thousands. I know one tract of the desert, 
covering an area of nearly five miles, where the sur- 
face is nothing more nor less than an arrow-head 
factory Here are flints partly chipped, in every 
stage of manufacture, and scattered among the ar- 
rowheads are the very tools, also made of flint, 
which were used in the manufacture of pre-historic 
man's weapons. 

Undoubtedly there have been climatic changes 
which amounted to a revolution of nature, but they 
still remain to be studied and documented. 

Fortunately for the work to which I have laid 
my hand in this direction, two of the foremost scholars 
of the present day are collaborating with me. Pro- 
fessor Gautier, the greatest authority on the Sahara, 
is doing the Geographical and Geological side, while 
Maurice Reygasse, certainly the foremost scholar on 
prehistoric times, is helping on anthropology and 
kindred subjects. 

Up to the present moment I have only visited the 
extreme south of Tunisia and Algeria, but year by 
year we get further into this fascinating land. 

33 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

As far as the Tripolitan frontier, we find traces 
of the past peoples. Neolithic man, the Berbers, 
Phoenicians and Romans have left their mark, half 
buried now in the creeping sands of the desert, and 
in the mountains that rise austerely from the plains 

I propose to tackle some new site each year, al- 
ways working south. 

The Matmatas are interesting. The people who 
live in the region of this great range are pure Ber- 
ber, and their habits and customs are reminiscent 
of the life of man in the undated past. It is here 
that we go back to the people of to-day, leaving 
awhile the dead civilisations for one that is alive, 
but older. We actually do go back to these people, 
for they are a backward company, and have nothing 
whatever in common with civilisation as we know it 
The region was called, by the ancients, the land of 
the Troglodytes and the Garamantes. Here men 
still live as did their ancestors of prehistoric periods 
Between Gabes and the Tripolitan frontier in a 
wild and forbidding land, abounding in mountain 
fastnesses, the harassed Berbers have found refuge for 
centuries in rock caves, persisting in their habitations 
though the Phoenicians have been dead so long, and 
no more ravage the country. But perhaps some of 
the people of to-day do not know that it is safe to 
be abroad. Their legends live for history, and the 
fears of the past are crystallised into the habits of 
the present. 

For three years I have wandered among the 

224 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

strange dwellings of the Troglodytes, and each, new 
expedition reveals some new phase or peculiarity 
of the "lizard eating" people. 

The Arabs call the locality the "Djefara," and 
the total population, almost entirely of pure des- 
cent, numbers nearly one hundred thousand. The 
Accara tribe have held the peninsula of Zarzis, which 
lies opposite the Isle of Djerba, from time immemo- 
rial The famous Touazine live near the Tripolitan 
frontier, the Khezeur have the marvellous mud city 
of Medeniae. The Ghoumrassen are the mountain 
folk, and all combine in the powerful confederation 
of the Ouerghamma. 

It is convenient, and scientifically correct, to 
divide the people into three categories, the mountain 
dwellers, who live in almost inaccessible eyries such 
as Douriat, Ghoumrassen and Ksar Beni Baicat: 
the subterranean people, to be found at Hadege and 
a score of similar villages in the Matmata region: 
and the people who use habitations of the "Ghorfa" 
type, to be found at Ksar Medenine and Matameur. 

In 192 I worked over the region between Hadege 
and Foum Tatafoum, inspecting many of the rock 
dwellings, hewn out of the mountain side. Ages of 
insecurity drove the Berbers to seek refuge in these 
places, and it is only since the French occupation 
that they have even felt the fringe of the garment 
of peace* They are afraid of peace. Quiet for them 
is only the threat of impending danger, the lull 
before the storm. It will take generations of peace 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

to dispel the dread of attack which is the age-long 
heritage of the Berbers. 

Their eyries are approached by a single narrow 
path, winding up steep slopes to a dizzy height, and 
there is not the least doubt that the only way an 
invader could enter would be in the wake of fam- 
ine. We found evidence of prehistoric man in sev- 
eral caves in the Djefara country, and at Gafsa and 
Tebessa we have palaeolithic and neolithic sites as 
rich as any to be found in France. 

During the peaceful periods, the natives began 
to build lower down on the mountains, and in the 
soft clayish rock near the valleys. Also at Hadege 
we have a whole town absolutely underground. 

The traveller may walk along, or ride, and see 
practically no indication that some four thousand 
people are housed in the vicinity, under the ground. 
The earth dwellings are open to the sky, and built 
around a central shaft or courtyard, which some- 
times reaches to a depth of five stories, which are 
terraced. The town is still increasing in size, and 
nothing changes from century to century. The 
inhabitants dig &nd build according to type, and 
that type began when their history began, before his- 
tory was. There is usually one entrance, or hole in 
the ground, and the first floor is the stable. Bed- 
rooms are on the same floor, and it is a familiar sight 
to see cattle filing through the bedroom ! 

The cupboards and beds are also cut out of the 
rock, and at Douirat I saw rooms whose furniture 

226 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

too had been hewn from the stone. At this Trog- 
lodyte city I believe there must be a good mile of 
houses underground, complete with roads Each 
year we are taking photographs of the strange people 
in their stranger abodes, a difficult problem, as they 
are not even modernised enough to want to be 
photographed Last year the expedition camped in 
the ancient rock caves several hundred feet above 
the Troglodyte city 

The military commander of Matamata lent us 
twenty of his convicts, to carry up the camp mate- 
rial. Most of these Berbers were doing servitude 
for a strange reason, an echo of which we had seen 
the day before, when a hand to hand fight took place 
in the subterranean streets. There had been a bad 
epidemic of smallpox in the region, and military doc- 
tors had been sent from Tunis to vaccinate the 
Troglodytes. 

They were not at all well received, so the men had 
to be handled by force, or the doctors themselves 
would have been seriously injured When an at- 
tempt was made to vaccinate the ladies, the Berber 
feelings were utterly outraged, and rather than let 
the Doctors drive out the menace that threatened 
the whole community, the Berbers tried to drive 
out the doctors. Though smallpox was killing them 
by scores, they refused to be treated, or to let their 
wives be treated, and fought tooth and nail. 

It was far from a joke for the doctors working in 
the dim labyrinths, digging out the human moles 

227 



DIGGING FOE LOST AFRICAN GODS 

The Berbers carried their antagonism so far that 
the riot was only suppressed by the intervention of 
armed forces, with the result that some of the popu- 
lation had to go to prison. 

The children, of course, make a joke out of their 
habitations, and think them no end of fun. They 
go to school, such as it is, chattering and laughing 
like any normal run of children, but we got a most 
illustrative film of their activities, by the cunning 
of our operator. 

Naturally it is not easy to take films of the Trog- 
lodytes; the darkness of their city and the antag- 
onism of the people, contribute to make a picture- 
man's life anything but pleasant, but, by secreting 
the. camera first on the top story, and then on the 
ground floor, Mr. Kellerman got the city from top 
to bottom, which is to say he got it from end to 
end. 

The school in the community is a rough and ready 
affair, and so is the instruction. The children learn 
to repeat a few lines of the Koran, and they are 
educated. 

To reach school, they amply flop out of the win- 
dows of the upper storey, and drop, sometimes fif- 
teen feet to the refuse on the ground beneath. They 
laugh and chatter as they pick themselves up, shake 
off the dirt and troop along together. 

The road up to the Matmatas was bad, several 
years ago, and in places consisted of the river bed, 
pure and simple. The colouration is a dull brick- 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

red and grey during the hours when the sun is strong, 
but at twilight, whether morning or evening, the 
place is lit with hues as vivid and primitive as can be 
desired. The mountains are fantastic in shape, 
resembling hundreds of giant pyramids, barren and 
gaunt, with only a few signs of vegetation here and 
there, a few palm trees and poor wheat growing in 
the valleys around the abode of some solitary cave- 
dweller. 

The whole area is intensely unreal and sinister, a 
region which might well be the land "on the other 
side of the moon." 

The town of Mdenine is the example of the third 
group of habitations. It is hard to imagine any- 
thing stranger than the collection of cylindrical 
chambers, built one on top of another straight up 
to the sky. "Ksar" (fortress) is the plain type of 
fortified town. There is a single door into the Ksar, 
and the minaret is the only point that rises over 
the skyline of the city. In construction, the city 
recalls nothing so strongly as a beehive, except that 
the bees are more regular in tiie construction of their 
cities than are the Berbers of Medenine. 

Take several hundred "Ghorfas" and place them 
in a circle, so that the doors face on the area en- 
closed, build cells haphazard, one on top of the 
other, and in the crevices throw a few handfuls of 
mud, haphazard again, and you have Ksar Mede- 
nine. 

The houses form the wall of the city, and are blank 

29 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

to the outside world, all doors looking out on to the 
space that corresponds to the "village green." In 
times of war, the town is instantly closed, and 
becomes a fortress, sufficiently strong to hold off the 
marauders, though it would offer no resistance what- 
ever to modern armament. 

To reach home, the tenant of a house on the 
fourth tier, and there may be as many as six tiers 
of mud houses one on top of another, has to crawl up 
a narrow staircase, not more than a few inches wide 
in places. More often than not, he has to be con- 
tent with an odd stone projecting from the wall 
here and there, and his entry to his house is more 
like the ascent of a monkey. The houses have no 
windows, and when the door is closed the interior 
is dark and rather airless. The doorway is about as 
high as a man's chest, and is certainly not con- 
structed for a fat man. The inhabitants crawl in 
on hands and knees, and instantly close the heavy 
door, and bolt it against all intruders. 

When the house is to be left, empty, the door is 
locked in a primitive, but satisfactory manner. On 
the side of the hasp is a hole, which penetrates the 
wall, and is large enough to admit a man's hand and 
arm. Reaching through, the householder pulls the 
trap to after him, and locks it with a massive wooden 
key, which he then withdraws and takes with him. 
The lock is a heavy wooden bolt, the key a long 
stick with pegs at the end which fit into holes in the 
bar, and so enable the bolt to be pulled backwards 

230 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

and forwards. If you should see an Arab walking 
with a cudgel over his shoulder, with ugly spikes on 
it that look dangerous, it may be only a patient 
householder carrying his key, and not a marauder 
with a bludgeon. 

To live in such a city is undoubtedly bad enough, 
but it has at least one advantage, one does not 
have to climb to an eagle's nest in order to roost 
for the night. 

The uninitiated, however, will be nervous at times, 
for the houses look as though they were in danger of 
collapse, but, being uncertain which way to fall, 
decide to remain upright. 

In former days bandits roamed periodically from 
Tripoli to ravage the whole area for slaves. The 
people lived in constant fear of the raids; nothing 
was ever spared. This apprehension is the reason 
for the strange construction of the villages. M6de- 
nine is called the Skyscraper city of Africa, and its 
people live in buildings six storeys high, or just by 
way of contrast, six storeys deep. Twelve storeys, 
in Africa, beats even Woolworth. 

Throughout this territory, as would be expected, 
are traces of all the civilisations that have passed 
like slow-drifting glaciers over the continent. Phoe- 
nicians, Romans and Greeks traded and worked 
here. Ruined towers and guard houses, of outposts 
erected by the Romans, crop up frequently, and are 
worth investigation But my own greatest interest 
lies in the possibility of discoveries relating to pre- 
231 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

historic man, on the edge, and in the centre of the 
desert 

It is for this cause that I have devoted all my 
leisure during the last five years, to studying the 
works of men who are really great in this world, 
Reygasse, Bordy, Gsell, Capitain, Pdre Huguenot, 
Gobert and De Morgan 

The principal prehistoric sites of Africa are those 
round Gafsa, including Tamerza, Radeyef and Seldja, 
the area in the neighbourhood of Tebessa, and the 
district which ranges from Southern Algeria to the 
great Central Sahara, especially the plateau called 
the Hoggar. 

To the region around Gafsa in Southern Tunisia 
they hive given the name Capsien, and in this region 
Reygasse is working, establishing the theory that 
this is the locality whence came the earliest types of 
stone implements Here, he has collected a series of 
instruments numbering at least 6,000 which are all 
worked stones, and which I have seen, belonging to 
the Chellean and pre-Chellean periods They are 
mostly "coup de poing" blocks of silex, nearly oval, 
and their date, on a conservative basis reached by 
archaeologists and geologists, is about 125,000 B a 
Some authorities give the date of this period as 
being 200,000 to 300,000 B c , but I lean personally 
to the more moderate estimate though why one 
should quibble over a mere hundred thousand years 
is, perhaps, inexplicable 

Signs of human life indicative of every one of the 

32 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

known periods of prehistoric life, dating from two 
hundred thousand years B.C. are to be found here, 
and I had the wonderful experience of discovering, 
under the guidance of M. Reygasse, some fine ex- 
amples of rock sculptures, those first attempts of 
prehistoric man in the realm of artistic expression. 
These abound between Tunisia and Mauretania, 
and merit independent research, since the work of 
Reygasse has almost established the similarity of 
African and European periods. 

Prehistoric man is supposed to have travelled to 
Africa from the North, perhaps migrating as far as 
Siberia. Certainly there is a close similarity between 
the implements of this area and those of the Esqui- 
maux. 

A word concerning Reygasse may not be out of 
place. He is certainly the outstanding authority 
on Africa, in relation to prehistoric eras. He has 
explored all the fields and has crossed the Sahara in 
order to locate neolithic man in the most remote 
places. There are few rock sculptures that he does 
not know, and he has included in his research the 
Dolmens, tumuli, and menhirs which abound in 
Africa. For fifteen years he has been studying 
the question of the origin of man, and year by year, 
with almost uniform regularity he startles some sci- 
entific congress with new discoveries he has made. 
In his home at Tebessa he has a collection of some 
150,000 implements of the stone age; the greatest 
private collection in the world. 

233 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

During these years he has been working quietly, 
almost in secret, and now he has entrusted me with 
the task of presenting his discoveries to the world, 
and to collaborate with him in the continuance of a 
gigantic work, of which, he says, he has only 
scratched the surface. 

For two weeks he took me and our moving picture 
operator all over the scene of his great finds, an 
excursion into the habitat of prehistoric man, an 
almost unbelievable region where man has lived ever 
since he first came out of the twilight of animal- 
ism. 

Reygasse is in a peculiarly happy position of being 
able to make his own investigations, as Adminis- 
trator of the Commune of Tebessa, a huge region 
containing most of the known prehistoric sites. He 
has all the forces needed in his excavations and ex- 
plorations. As Governor of a peaceful region, he 
has been able to execute all the duties of administra- 
tion and use his leisure for archaeology. His dis- 
coveries in this direction have won the unreserved 
approval of the French Government, which is encour- 
aging him to go still deeper into the subject. 

In my recent tour with this great enthusiast, we 
had all the local Caids and authorities at our dis- 
posal, and they welcomed us at every village and out- 
post Horses, mules, guides and military escort 
met us at the different halts, and gangs of men were 
put to work on the excavations several days before 
we arrived. In this way I was able to assist in the 

234 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

uncovering of some of the oldest specimens of the 
handiwork of men. 

For the tour we left Tebessa at daybreak, and fol- 
lowed the old Roman road to Bir Sbeitla, where 
Reygasse made the spectacular find of several thou- 
sand marvellous "coups de poings" some years ago. 
Before reaching the Bordje, we were met by a strik- 
ing cavalcade of mounted Arabs, who surrounded 
our cars and gave us a typical salute, firing their 
guns into the air and performing a veritable "fan- 
tasia" for our especial benefit. I was glad when it 
was explained that they were peaceful in their 
intentions, and were showing their pleasure, but 
all the same I wondered, if this were peace, what 
they might rise to in anger! 

It was a thrilling exhibition, and the moving pic- 
ture man secured a great picture of the turbaned 
knights of the Sahara, as they tore around us on 
the dead run, with their gold-braided, scarlet capes 
flying in the wind. 

Then, because a picture man is a genius, and a 
genius, all separate and alone, the camera was 
moved to the back of one of the cars, and Reygasse 
and I were filmed driving along at full speed sur- 
rounded by our whooping escort. 

Caid Lakal Ben Tayab entertained us at length, 
and a regal entertainment he provided. Champagne, 
wild game, kus-kus, peculiar dishes of the people, 
roasts and entrees purely Arabian, and the envy of 
every chef who ever hears of them, liqueurs and 

235 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

cigars were forthcoming; surely a feast not generally 
found on an exploring expedition. Our host had a 
row of decorations, including the Legion d'Honneur, 
and was the idealisation of the Sheik of legend and 
romance. 

The Caids are sticklers for ceremony and eti- 
quette. Even in the heart of the desert, it is ex- 
pected that the traveller, when the guest of a Caid 
or chief man, will wear his decorations. The ribbons 
are not enough, and we have had to include in our 
equipment, miniatures of whatever decorations we 
possess. 

Like many of the Caids and Sheiks of North 
Africa, our host was a cultured man, and thoroughly 
aristocratic, he was soon discussing our expeditions, 
both intelligently and enthusiastically. 

The site we were to explore lay on the banks of a 
river, and the prehistoric implements are found im- 
bedded in the alluvial deposit about two hundred 
yards from the fortress. In a few hours we recovered 
fine examples of the work of Acheulian and Chellean 
man, which Reygasse was kind enough to let me 
keep. There is something especially exciting in dig- 
ging out of the mud a pre-historic axe-head, a weapon 
that has been lying there for something like a hundred 
thousand years. It equalled the moment, almost, 
of our own discovery of the Temple of Tanit, at 
Carthage, the uncovering of the "dancing girl's " 
tomb at Utica, and the raising of the first sea- 
incrusted amphore at Djerba. 

236 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

From El ma El Abiod, we continued south to the 
important proto-solutrian site of Bir Sbeitla All 
this region is full of ruins of ancient Roman towns 
and settlements It used to be a great oil pro- 
ducing country (olive, not petroleum), and Stephana 
Gsell has discovered something like two hundred 
and fifty ruins in the neighbourhood, together with 
some remarkably well-preserved ancient oil presses* 
It is far from an exaggeration to say that you stumble 
across a ruin every five minutes. 

At Bir Sbeitla, we had another cavalcade. Prob- 
ably the Caid here had heard of the entertainment 
of our earlier host, and intended to outdo him. He 
assuredly gave us a wonderful show, though horses 
can only run at full speed, and man can only eat 
till he can eat no more! But our host provided us 
with a novelty. It was under his entertainment 
that we first had "meschouie." This is a great 
feast, like an ox-roast, save that a whole lamb is 
roasted and the company sits around on the floor, 
and then it is each for himself, with due deference 
to etiquette and precedence. But, it is an absolute 
scream to see otherwise sedate gentlemen tearing 
away at a roast lamb with their fingers, and gurgling 
"bismillah!" between mouthfuls. 

"Bismillah!" was the only word that fitted. It 
gave me a real insight into the peculiar sense of the 
fitness of things that I had often remarked among 
certain Arabs. 

The country around was wild, with grandiose 

237 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

mountains, veiled in purple shadows, and from this 
point we continued our journey on Arab horses. 
It took me a long while to get accustomed to the 
high Arab saddles, and longer to get over the effects ! 
The saddles are far from soft, being made of wood, 
in conformation much like the saddles of the plains 
of Western America. 

An exhilarating ride took us up to the gorges of 
Saf-Saf, and the prehistoric site of the "escargotiers," 
or snail-eaters, where Reygasse had a gang of men 
at work. Here we found a whole hillside, just one 
mass of prehistoric hearths, ashes mixed with flints 
and millions of snail shells! We were lucky enough 
to dig out quite a representative collection of Aurig- 
nacian relics, far better worked than those of the pre- 
vious epoch* The long "lames," which may have 
been razors, and which were worked on both sides, 
were specially well made. These things belong to 
the "Capsien" or "Getulian" periods, to give them 
their African names. 

Standing on this Ml, with all the legacies of pre- 
historic man around me, I tried to imagine the scene 
so many thousands of years ago. Here are the re- 
mains of the famous Cro-Magnon type of human 
beings, and Reygasse and Capitain are convinced 
that they migrated from Africa to Europe. The 
Asiatic explorers claim them for that country but 
there is no doubt that Africa by the work of her 
scientists, has proven that by far the most numerous 
traces are to be found here. 

288 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

I saw literally millions of snail shells in this region, 
and I can imagine how they must have hated their 
daily meals, after the million mark was passed! 

All is silent here now and desolate. The jackal 
can be seen often enough, slouching around like a 
cur, or loping off when he is disturbed; and flying in 
the face of the sun are falcons and eagles. The 
massive animals of other years have disappeared 
with the changing climate. Long ago it was wet 
and cold here. Rhinoceros and elephants abound- 
ed, and it has been established that bears, bison, 
deer and the felinae were also common. It would 
be a great thing if a systematic dig, on a sufficiently 
extensive basis, could take place here every year, 
searching for what must be somewhere near by, 
skeleton remains of these fore-runners of the solutrean 
race. 

From the fill of the snail-eaters, we continued up 
the valley between precipices, like the walls of a 
canyon to a series of rock caves, with images sculp- 
tured on the entrances. We camped in these caves, 
and filmed the rough carvings of antelopes, bison, 
deer and elephants on the smooth rock. There is 
something extremely fascinating in the study of these 
primitive efforts at design, and the subjects are 
really well-designed and arranged, though Africa 
has yet to equal the marvels of the caves of Altamira, 
in Spain. 

Pressing through the valley of Saf-Saf, it grew 
terrific and almost suffocating, the heat was so in- 

239 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

tense Our Caids dropped out one by one, because 
they could not stand the heat. The going was 
rough, and that added to our discomfiture, but it 
was surprising that we should be able to go on, while 
the Arabs were overcome. Perhaps if they had 
had the same incentive, they might have stuck it 
out. 

We filmed the canyon, the stronghold of our fore- 
runners, though we did not always climb to the 
caves. The view from the ledges in the rock which 
pre-historic man enjoyed must at least have in- 
stilled in him a sense of the spectacular. 

We broke camp at Sbeitla to continue across the 
mountains south to the "great atelier, 55 or "flint 
factory" of the Jhedir Safia Here we reconstructed 
and filmed the arsenal of the pre-historic people. 
Imagine a series of small hills covered with the 
debris of a million broken flints, near to the scarred 
faces of the rock where the flints had been chipped 
out by the ancient "Aurignacians." Reygasse col- 
lected thousands of specimens here, and we found 
some beautifully worked flints of every kind. 

Among the specimens we took away were com- 
plete ranges of arrow heads, axe-heads or hand 
hatchets, scrapers, razor flints, and many nuclei 
(flints from which the tools had been chipped). 
Moreover, and perhaps the most beautifully worked, 
we found the tools with which the various instru- 
ments were made. They were, of course, also of 
flint, but must have been worked with infinite care 

240 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

and considerable judgment, their serried edges prov- 
ing admirably adapted to the finer work of finishing 
off the rough chippings. 

Not a sign of life now animates the land. It is 
deserted and savage. Only at times nomads of the 
south pass over it, never dreaming of the ebb and 
flow, and ebb again, of civilisation that began with 
man's dawning intelligence. There must have been 
a merry row going on when the Cro-Magnons were 
having a field day at the flint workings on the hills 
of Safia. I wonder if they were actually so deformed 
as their rock drawings show them. The negroes in 
parts of Africa to-day are peculiarly formed, phys- 
ically, their hips and shoulders being rather exag- 
gerated, and we suppose the Aurignacians were also. 

On the way to Bir Ater, Reygasse talked for hours 
of how he had explored this region mile after mile, 
and so came on these classical epochs. It was a 
tale of patience and endurance modestly told, but 
the more thrilling because of the hesitation with 
which he spoke* I had to draw him out for a while, 
and then he came into the full stream of his narra- 
tive. I was actually sorry to see the welcoming 
riders who interrupted his tale. 

Our hosts met us in the customary lordly style of 
the hospitable desert Arabs, and we slept in the 
bordj of the Bir Ater in splendid safety, as all these 
resting places are small fortresses, with loopholes 
and towers of defense. 

These caravanserai are built by the French for 



DIGGING FOB LOST AFRICAN GODS 

defense, but contrasting with Morocco in this par- 
ticular, they have rarely been used for actual war- 
fare. 

Reygasse is naturally proud of his "mousterian" 
discoveries here, especially of silex pedoncule, that 
up to the last few years was generally thought to 
have been Neolithic In this locality, too, Reygasse 
has established the direct transition of the Acheulian 
to the typical Soluterian periods. Instruments we 
found on the surface below the Ced Djebanna, were 
typically mousterian, and made of a bright yellowish 
flint* 

In the curve of the river we found flints mixed 
with the ashes and bones of pre-historic horses, and 
it is here that we hope to undertake a large excava- 
tion soon, with the object of discovering human relics. 
There are great possibilities, and the field shows un- 
believable richness. 

It is impossible for me ever to thank Reygasse 
sufficiently for the whole-hearted way in which he 
helped Kellerman, our moving picture operator, to 
take a detailed film of all these sites, and the dis- 
coveries of a lifetime. All the epochs and the best 
examples of the periods were taken, and I am sure 
we have a unique documentation of this great African 
field of the men of the old stone age. 

The Dolmens and Megdithic remains. Prom the 
Atlas Mountains of Morocco to the yellow sands of 
the Nile, and from the southern shores of the Mediter- 
ranean to the jungles of central Africa, man has lived 

4$ 




The gateway to the desert Gorge* of Seldja, 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

since the dawn of humanity It is only since the 
territory was occupied by the French that this land of 
wonder and mystery has been opened to scientific re- 
search. The Moslems have no interest in the history 
of the past, or in the preservation of what re- 
mains of former civilisations. 

In the last five years I have visited all the great 
rums of North Africa: Carthage, Utica, Uthnia, 
Aphrodisium, Bulla Regia, Timgad ... I am sure 
I could name a hundred in Tunisia alone. Yet little 
is known of them by the outer world, less is known 
of the mighty builders who came before the Phoeni- 
cians and the Romans. 

There is nothing stranger in the vast natural 
museum of North African territory than this im- 
mense collection of the remains of the Megalithic 
peoples, whose works are to be found in the Atlas 
Mountains. 

It was the late Dr. Carton who took me first to 
the fields of the Dolmens* He took me to the 
specimens at Bulla Regia, which I have already men- 
tioned elsewhere in this chronicle, the place of the 
ancient hotel made of Roman cisterns. Barring 
snakes, bugs, scorpions and rats, the place was not 
too bad, and the Doctor broached some rare Sicilian 
wine, to help us bear the presence of the snakes, 
though he mildly suggested that over indulgence in 
wine tends rather to increase the reptiles within 
sight. 

The whole region bordering on Numidia is full of 

243 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Megalithic remains, similar to those which are to 
be found in many parts of the world. They are one 
of the most absorbing mysteries of archaeology. 
Who were the people who built their awe-inspiring, 
and often gigantic tombs on lonely plains or wind- 
swept hills, where the rise and set of the sun should 
light up their graves? 

The people who built Stonehenge built similar 
wonders in Africa, Scotland and Persia, Ireland and 
the Carpathians, are linked in the same manner. 
When, how, and why, is still unknown, but if ever 
the Megalithic question is to be studied and solved, 
I believe the first clue will be found in Africa. 

Often I have wondered if the menhirs, those tall, 
pointed, conical stones, have not something in com- 
mon with the "beyles" of the Orient. They rise 
sometimes to a height of ten metres, and often are 
built in circles. These are called Cromlechs. On 
the hill opposite the ruins of Bulla Regia they are in 
long lines, and at Carnac in Brittany, the alignment 
stretches for nearly four kilometres, with about eight 
or ten metres between the stones. 

They are built in the direction of the rising and 
the setting sun, and of the solstices and equinoxes. 
The Arabs of Africa hold them in superstitious awe, 
and they have many legends centring around them. 

Roknia, in Algeria, is the greatest African field of 
the Dolmens^ and comprises upwards of 1,500 of 
these strange sepulchres of a lost race. The rock 
rooms beneath the stones are generally one metre by 

244 



PREHISTORIC MAN IN AFRICA 

one and a half or three metres, and contain the dead, 
with equipment for the other world, silex, stone 
necklaces, even beautiful objects in gold, and hat- 
chets of jadite, sometimes of great proportions. It 
is thought that the first Dolmens are of the neolithic 
age, probably about three thousand to four thousand 
B c. 

Reygasse believes that the Dolmens of Africa are 
the tombs of the original Libyans and Berbers. I 
explored several great tumuli with Reygasse this 
year, and it made a very fine film, with the actual 
uncovering of the crouched skeleton, with jewellery 
in the form of bronze bracelets still attached to the 
body. The last resting places of all those strange 
people are invariably built in the most rugged spots, 
sometimes crowning the mountain tops, as they do 
near the old Roman city, north of Tebessa. The 
tombs look sad and mysterious, especially in the 
mists and shadows of the giant rocks of the wild 
Atlas Mountains. 

Funds have recently been raised to allow Reygasse 
to continue his digging into the mystery of these 
people, and I hope that next year may see an im- 
portant contribution by him to the knowledge we 
possess of the subject. The field is large, and Gen- 
eral Faidherbe is the only explorer who has hitherto 
touched the area on any large scale Unfortunately 
due to the methods of exploration, little was dis- 
covered, and we must wait for the more expert and 
modern methods to bring us light. 

245 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Certainly the investigation must go on, for there 
are many things to be solved. Many of the Megali- 
thic tombs in Africa had skulls in them that had 
been trepanned, and I recovered a fine specimen, 
but whether the trepanning was done as a surgical 
operation, or as a religious ceremony, it is not 
known. A strange corollary lies in the fact that 
the Aures hill-folk still practice the art of trepan- 
ning, to this day. 

There it is, however, I can but present the field, 
and give a little indication of the immensity of the 
subject* The rest must be left to systematic ex- 
ploration, and the protracted study of the compli- 
cated problem. 



246 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE CHOTTS 

BETWEEN the land of the Troglodytes and the 
Matmatas, stretch the great inland lakes of Southern 
Algeria and Tunisia The Lakes, called Chotts, 
cover an area of several hundred kilometres in 
length, and from sixty to seventy kilometres in 
width. They are really salt fields, whose surfaces 
reflect the sun in undiminished brilliance during 
the dry season. In the rainy season a little water 
rests for a while, and the Chotts seem to be the 
Lakes they once were. 

Chott el Djerid, which is the greatest of the series, 
we crossed by motor, and, with the sun shining on 
the salt, and our cars reflected in the glazed surface, 
we appeared to be motoring across the sea. The 
Chott resembled nothing so much as a gigantic 
snow-field, the salt was finely powdered and closely 
packed, whistling a little under our tyres as snow 
whistles, when the temperature is well below zero 

A track, it is even less than that, is laid across 
the Chott from Kebili to Tozeur and Nefta, glorious 



DIGGING FOR LOST APBICAN GODS 

oases whose wealth of palms is incredible. Prob- 
ably the fertility of either bank of the Chott gave 
De Lesseps the idea, which has never been executed 
or entirely dismissed, of flooding this region, to 
bring back prosperity to the district. 

It is believed that in early history the Chotts were 
actual lakes, and that the oases on the banks were 
really what the Romans called Nefta "ports of the 
Desert." 

Legends tell of naval actions on the Chotts, and 
Arab historians of the middle ages record the dis- 
covery of a galley in the bed of the lake, which by 
that time had dried up. Chott el Djerid is identi- 
fied with the lake of the Tritons described by Homer, 
and the legend recounted by Herodotus still per- 
sists, that it was prophesied to Jason, on behalf of 
the Argonauts, that a hundred Greek cities should 
be established in this region. 

They are argonauts of different race who traverse 
the Chotts to-day, but the treachery of the salt is 
always to be remembered. Inviting as the surface, 
appears, the invitation is only to be accepted with 
due care. It is best to keep to the defined trails, 
and doubly advisable to take a guide who knows 
where the trails are. Although the French have 
raised little mounds or towers of stone across the 
Chott from Kabili to Tozeur, the towers are not 
always visible. They have a way of sinking, or of 
getting somewhat obliterated, and the track itself 
is far from permanent. The salt covers the marks 

48 



THE CHOTTS 

of the wheels quickly The whole surface levels out 
before many minutes have passed. 

We raced across in high-powered cars, and were 
quite content when we reached the other side. From 
the island of stones which lies in the middle of the 
Chott, and is called the Island of Pharaoh, a sand- 
storm threatened to overtake us. We were only 
able to keep just ahead of what looked like a solid 
wall of sand, coming like an express train behind us. 
Yet, we left a lone Arab at the Island, who seemed 
to care little for the treachery of the Chott, or the 
menace of the sandstorm. 

He may have been a secret follower of Ammon, 
visiting the scene of the ancient cult, or have been 
communing there with the spirit of the past, for 
that Island is hoary with legend, and a lone pilgrim 
or two would not be entirely unexpected. 

However, the surface of the Chott, where it is 
safe, is magnificent for speed. Full out, in a Far- 
man car, we travelled at a rate that touched a hun- 
dred kilometres an hour, and the riding was easier 
than forty kilometres an hour on a European road 
We did that, knowing we could trust our guide, and 
that the surface would hold. There are places 
where the journey would have been downwards and 
not along. It is recorded that on one occasion a 
caravan of a thousand camels disappeared below the 
surface, and in a few minutes the salt had closed 
in on them, obliterating all traces. 

We, happily, reached Tozeur. It was nightfall 

249 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFEICAN GODS 

when we found the oasis, rising from the inland lake, 
like a mystic city charmed into existence by the 
slaves of the ring. It seemed, from a little distance 
as though the trees were reflected in the sea. It 
was the salt playing at mirror again. 

Tozeur boasts a million palm trees, and the fan- 
tastic Arabs have re-created the story of Creation. 
Their legend says that the oasis was originated by 
planting two palm trees, male and female, and now 
there are a million. I believe they have actually 
been counted. 

To drive through the groves of palms is to drive 
through fairyland. At every turn our headlights 
illumined new groups of trees, through which gurgled 
little streams, or tiny fresh-water pools glistened. 
The earth was a mass of multi-coloured flowers, and, 
away from the oasis were the thatched palm-leaf 
huts, clustered together and surrounded by stock- 
ades made of palm branches and latticed with fibre, 
the whole surmounted by chevaux-de-frise of giant 
briars, sufficient to keep out any kind of marauder. 

We followed the example of the natives, and 
pitched our camp outside the oasis, on the dunes 
that are threatening its very existence. Why one 
should sleep outside the fairyland is obvious, after 
the first night. The Arabs, of course, do not wish 
to waste an inch of the precious land by covering 
it with houses. The traveller soon learns that these 
bewitching places have an insect population which 
strongly resents, or welcomes effusively, the invader. 

250 




Tozeur 4 typical siew of oasts 



THE CHOTTS 

And when the wind is still, there is another incentive 
to stay out of the oasis. One might call it "attar 
of Palm and stagnant water." 

For our delight, it was the Moslem month of 
Ramdan when we arrived, the time when the Faith- 
ful fast all day and feast all night, and we found 
ourselves serenaded by the village merry-makers who 
came in full strength to our camp fire, beating their 
strange drums and shrilling their mysterious fifes. 

A semi-circle of musicians, sitting tailor-wise, 
played for the dancers. Haunting syncopation urged 
a group of dancers to do their utmost. Their 
bodies postured and twisted as they trod the sand 
in the body-dance of the Orient, breaking now into 
a swaggering cake walk, and again into a wild jig. 

Mr. Kellerman, of course, photographed them, 
and his flares added immeasurably to the unforget- 
table quality of the scene. The dancers seemed to 
be hypnotised by the sudden incandescence, and 
danced like madmen in the light; while, from the 
shrouded night, in the background of the oasis, a 
myriad palms bent and swayed, as though to ask 
what new dawn was breaking. 

When dawn did break, we travelled round the 
settlement on the humps of camels, across the oasis, 
to see the efforts that are being made to fight the 
desert. The place is laid out in a complete system 
of irrigation, which fertilises the area, and the canals 
form a sporting ground for Arab children, who use 
the irrigation works as swimming holes. From the 

251 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

humps of our camels we could peep over the mud 
walls, which run along either side of the canals, into 
luxuriant private gardens. 

The oasis, like many others we have seen, is being 
enlarged gradually, and at great cost. Always 
there is the steady fight with the desert, and the 
French have sunk many artesian wells, and, accord- 
ing to the authorities, nearly every time they bore, 
they find water which quickly converts the sand into 
fertile soil. 

The warfare against the desert, however, is by 
no means ended. It will go on as long as the sand 
continues to creep in, and that will be long. In 
this region the dunes are at their worst. Composed 
of minutely pulverised sand, they are driven to a 
fine crest by the wind, and every breeze changes 
the contour. The sand dunes, when the wind blows, 
have the appearance of a chain of small, but active, 
volcanoes, or of a stormy sea, whose waves are 
breaking in a torrent of foam. The sand creeps 
on steadily, and it is not uncommon to see pahn 
trees covered to the leaves in sand of recent ac- 
cumulation. I saw a shred of vegetation stick- 
ing like coarse grass from the crest of a dune. On 
investigation, it proved to be a palm, completely 
buried. 

The natives are fighting the sand incessantly, with 
groynes and sheds, much as snow is fought on the 
railways of America, in the winter. 

A little below Tozeur, and still on the borders of 

252 



THE CHOTTS 

the Chotts, is Nefta, an oasis similar to Tozeur, but 
having a palm-tree population of only a quarter of 
a million. 

Nef ta stands on the very edge of the Sahara, and 
suffers more than Tozeur from the invasion of the 
desert. 

This oasis was actually the port of the desert 
for the caravans that went South across the Sahara 
to bring back the products of the tropics, both in 
the time of the Romans and of the Carthaginians. 
It is mentioned in the histories of the ancients 
that Nefta was once connected with the sea, and 
it is a few miles south of this oasis that, accord- 
ing to Tissot, the galley is reported to have been 
found. 

It is the Nepta of the old world, and below the 
dunes there lies a Roman city. The sand has con- 
quered, and a once important outpost lies several 
hundred feet below the Surface. 

Certainly the old Nepta was influenced by con- 
tact with Egypt, for rocks bearing the horns of 
Ammon Ra have been found here. Legend says 
that Athena came from Nefta, and, according to 
Herodotus, her worship was the religion of the city 
in the fifth century BC. She may have been a 
Libyan goddess with a Greek name! 

All round are the signs of the city's two-fold fight 
against her enemies, natural and human. Nefta, 
now no more than an oasis on the edge of the desert, 
and a port of the Chott, has battled without resjr *te, 

253 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

and the signs of her tribulation are everywhere 
apparent. 

The Chotts are littered with the bones of camels. 
Jackals from the mountains find their food here, 
and the bones are dragged around in every direction. 

It may well be that modern science will be able 
to restore the prosperity of the Chotts and the coun- 
try round about. There is water in plenty to be 
had, wells exist even in the centre of the salt lakes, 
and together with the signs of tribulation, are the 
unmistakable indications of former civilisation and 
trade. 

Military roads used to skirt the lakes, and though 
Pliny calls the district "the sad place where there 
is no possibility of living" there are the mile-stones 
of the Romans still remaining, which tell their own 
quaint story. One is more impressed by the gen- 
eralship and valour of the Romans here, than almost 
anywhere else, for, to prevent invasion, the natives 
needed only to fill up the wells on their retreat. 
Natural conditions would then do the rest. 

The Roman mile-stones are the guide books of 
the ancients. Much more massive than the sign 
posts of to-day, they convey detailed and adequate 
information to the traveller. On them are still to 
be read distances and directions to the great cities 
The distance from Carthage to Tebessa, from Car- 
thage to Gigthis, from Carthage to the centre of the 
Sahara, are all there, and not only do the mile-stones 
give the route and distance to the next town ahead, 

254 




//ze roarf to the land of gold and sand 
and rmn 



THE CHOTTS 

but to towns further afield, where there are rivers, 
deserts, marshes, and often where "hot baths can 
be obtained!" Suitable caravanserai, where travel- 
lers can find accommodation for the night are also 
indicated, as well as the condition of roads and 
bridges. Usually the mile-stones are headed by a 
dedication to one of the Roman Emperors. 

One stone, I remember, gave warning of an un- 
protected road, counselling care against an avalanche 
of stones from the heights above. Another had a 
"good luck" message to the traveller. 

From these stones, we have learned the names of 
cities that were in the centre of the Sahara, even 
as far as the Hoggar, cities that have not yet been 
found, but which are a challenge to archaeologists. 



255 



CHAPTER XV 

THE GOLDEN CITIES 

Sbeitla. Archaeology and excavation would be- 
come popular indeed if all the sites were as beautiful 
as Sbeitla, the magic Sufetula. 

It is placed with the desert cities, but the golden 
city of Southern Tunisia is, in fact, located on the 
high plateau that looks down on the Sahara. 

We reached it after a journey across barren tracts, 
whose only vegetation was tuff a grass. Through 
the hazy heat-mist of the desert we could see the 
vague outline of hills, mauve and crimson tinted, 
and almost detached from them, like a mirage, dim 
and mysterious, a city of temples, an island floating 
on the horizon. 

The magnificent triumphal arch bears a dedica- 
tion to Diocletian, Constance and Maximian, and the 
monument stands as an everlasting challenge by 
civilisation to barbarism But, as in many of these 
cities, it is colour that impresses the spectator most, 
for in harmony with the graceful proportions and 
architectural composition, time and nature have 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

painted the monument in colours unequalled for 
vividness or variety. 

In the midst of an arid country it appears like a 
bouquet of flowers. The stones are softened into 
old gold and saffron, draped with delicate mauve 
and sapphire 

Silently we passed beneath the wondrous arch, 
our footsteps passing among the overturned columns 
and stones. The old roadway still bore the marks 
of the chariots of the Romans, whose wheels cut 
deep grooves into the pavement 

To the right stands the ghostlike columns of the 
theatres, silhouetted against the sky like the strings 
of an Aeolian harp A silver thread of glistening 
water trickled around their bases, when we saw 
them, for the theatre was built on the banks of a 
deeply sunk African wady. As at Gigthis, palaces 
and paths were built on the water's edge, and the 
limpid stream still reflects the crumbling monuments. 

Crossing the stage, we struck a road lined on 
either side by great ruins, partly excavated by the 
Services des Antiquites, and suddenly stopped, 
amazed. Between the columns of a great basilica 
there rose before us the greatest spectacle of glori- 
ous ruin in all Africa, an'd the equal of any on 
earth. 

The Forum of Sufetula, with its triumphal monu- 
mental doors, its fluted columns, tinged like shafts 
of gold, and carrying in the central space the majestic 
Capitolean Temples is probably the most perfect 

257 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

specimen of the work of the empire builders remain- 
ing. There is no sensation equal to the surprise of 
that dreamlike place. I felt that it was so unreal 
that at any moment the vision might fade, but I 
reached the temple steps, treading softly for fear 
of disturbing the heavy silence, and sat on an over- 
turned capital to take in the magic of the city. 

On either side the temples stand, and under the 
peristyle and between the great Corinthian columns 
our party collected and gazed across the ancient 
plains. 

From the temple steps the whole skeleton of the 
dead city can be seen. In the distance, gracefully 
outlined, is the triumphal arch, and beyond it lie 
the dying nuances of the phantom mountains. 

The river lies to the left, and leading to it, from 
the Forum below, the road we had just traversed 
One imagines that, in the old days, the people of 
fashion trod that road to the river's edge, to enjoy 
the cool of the evening* It has no fashion now. 
No chariots or clanking legionaries cross the beauti- 
ful arched bridge that, still intact and perfect, spans 
the silvery river. The incense rises no more from 
the altars that once stood before the statues of 
Jupiter, Minerva and Juno, only the mists rise on 
the horizon that widens round this sleeping collec- 
tion of stones that once was the city of gold and 
ivory, called Sufetula. 

Timgad. As every traveller through North Africa 
would say, Timgad is unique. The multiplicity of 

258 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

statement does not diminish its truth. It is the 
bare fact. 

It sprang, full armed, from the mind of Trajan, 
who conceived the city as a fit testimonial to his 
gallant Legion, Uplia Victrix. 

There are many things that are unique in con- 
nection with Timgad. Chief among them is the 
fact that it stands as the ruin of the first city that 
was " town planned." Its streets and avenues run 
at right angles, and full use has been made of the 
site chosen. The site, incidentally is nothing, just 
a stretch of barren waste, which never before bore 
houses or buildings. The city planners needed 
nothing but their own ingenuity. There were no 
impediments to the work. Nobody to-day would 
think of erecting a city in such surroundings. That 
is, unless they were Empire Builders, and had an 
eye to the garrisoning of large numbers of forces 
in view of emergencies. 

Thamugadi, as the Romans called it, is an out- 
post of empire on the fringe of desolation. As an 
outpost, it faced the four quarters of the globe, 
fenced round about by walls, of which now there is 
no sign, but squarely built, and stoutly fashioned, 
embellished by art that fell short of the great cities, 
but yet was graceful. To the city access was gained 
by means of four gates, and from east to west ran 
the military road, along whose pavement the chariots 
raced, and traffic gouged a rutted way through the 
slabs of stone. 

259 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Deserted, unfavoured by climate or surrounding, 
a grim testimony to the weight of the Romans, and 
witness to their thoroughness the ruined city stands 
in the midst of denuded mountains and gruff wilder- 
ness. 

Perhaps it is its position that has preserved it. 
The sand has blown and drifted over the place. 
Its inaccessibility saved it from being despoiled by 
the ravagers who wanted stone and columns for 
their other cities Now, the Services des Antiquites, 
following on the work of M. Joly, have uncovered 
that stretch of sand, nearly four hundred yards 
square, and are restoring the place to recognisable 
form 

There is much that is curious and enlightening at 
Timgad. It has rums of grandeur and statelmess 
that remain to tell their story. The ruins are not 
comparable with others in Africa, but, in their col- 
lection they are every bit as significant. 

The roads especially bear witness to their service. 
On either side is a footpath, colonnaded and porti- 
coed, where the soldiers, and such of fashion as was 
to be found in the garrison town, wandered. There 
are buildings too, which leave room for the archaeolo- 
gist to work upon, and, for the artist there is the 
Arch of Trajan. 

The Forum is illuminating, its pavement still 
carrying the little gaming tables, where doubtless 
the soldiers and others played to beguile the dull 
hours Here is the inscription, now famous, which 

60 




T^mgad The ruts made by chariots in the stone 
pavements 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

reads VENARI LAVARI LUDEBE RIDERE occ EST VITA 
("Hunting, bathing, gambling, laughing, this is life"). 
One wonders whether that inscription revealed the 
soul of the soldier, or only his boredom with the life 
of an outpost settlement. 

The Forum, easily recognised, whose columns are 
especially graceful, is broad and spacious, with the 
shrine to Fortuna Augusta, the Rostra and the Tem- 
ple with a little room nearby fo* the philosophers 
who waited for their public speeches. 

The Market place, with its little stalls, evokes 
memories. There was trading aplenty in the gar- 
rison, and astute merchants catered to the wants 
of the soldiers who had only time to kill and money 
to spend when the Empire was not at war The 
Baths are not large, but are fairly numerous, in 
different parts of the city. 

Timgad was supervised, as was nearly every 
Roman settlement, by its genius. Near the Arch 
of Trajan lies the little temple to the " Genio Coloniae 
Thamug ," and the frequency with which one meets 
these little temples to lesser divinities recalls at 
least, if it does not aid in identification, the habit 
of the former inhabitants of the land, who had 
the lesser god for every fertile spot, every spring, 
every special enclosure. How difficult it is to say 
where the Baalim stopped short and the "genius" 
began. 

The most imposing, but not the most beautiful, 
of the architectural possessions of Timgad is the 

261 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Capitol It is heterodox in its style and in its com- 
position, though its constructors have tried to over- 
come by size what they failed to accomplish by art, 
and the usual Trinity of the Romans were housed 
in the immense structure* 

Timgad boasts also a Byzantine fortress, and a 
monastery. 

Khamissa Khamissa we passed on the road from 
Timgad to Souk Ahlas, the birthplace of St. Au- 
gustine. We reached this wonderful and mysterious 
dead city just as the sun was setting across the wild 
and ragged Atlas mountains. 

Here is an entirely different phase of the many 
sided continent, and a setting to the ruins entirely 
different from Timgad and Sbeitla of the valley, 
Gigthis of the desert, and Carthage of the sea This 
is a mountain city, the ancient Thurbisicu Numi- 
dorum, first stronghold of the Numidians, then a 
rich city under Trajan. 

Before reaching the fine rums of Khamissa we 
passed the vague and grotesque, mist-enshrouded, 
towers of crumbling Tipasa, where ten square towers 
overlook the plains and the ruins they hold. 

Our road mounted rapidly to the city that is the 
source of the great Medjerda, and Khamissa's tri- 
umphal arch suddenly came into view. Through 
the gate, we saw ruins on every hand, capping the 
panorama of the valley. 

Two Berber shepherds stared at us as we passed, 
wondering doubtless why any sane man should want 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

to come and see broken stone, and disturb the peace 
We climbed among the ruins for an hour, amazed 
at the beauty of the site. The most attractive of 
the ruins at Khamissa are the basins, rectangular 
and circular, filled with limpid water. Temples are 
reflected in their cool depths, and we lit a fire by 
their majestic remains, for the weather was cold, 
and we were at a considerable altitude. Africa, the 
land of sun and brilliant skies can be as cold as the 
poles when the sun goes down 

Here, at Khamissa, the ancients built a tribute to 
the divinities superintending the source of North 
Africa's greatest river, and many a festival must 
have taken place in honour of the Gods. The spot 
is beautiful enough to encourage festivals. Our 
party was completely fascinated by the extent of 
the ruins and the almost endless number of fine 
specimens The theatre still stands perfect, even in 
its ruin The walls of the stage are thirty feet high, 
and here it is possible to get an idea of what the 
back of a Roman theatre looked like. 

The temple columns in the Forum are made of 
the golden Numidian marble. There are twenty-six 
of these gigantic columns, which, some day perhaps 
will be raised again. 

M Joly has already done much archaeological 
excavation here, with the assistance of Mr Gsell, 
but more remains to be done It is a land of won- 
derful possibilities, for the history of the Numidians 
is a long and romantic story From these mountains 

63 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

came the famous horsemen of Hannibal's all con- 
quering hosts 

From Sallust we learn that the famous library of 
Carthage was brought to these mountains in 146 
B c and placed in the hands of Hiepsal. 

The question that always awaits an answer is 
whether we shall find any traces of this great col- 
lection when the cities of this region are thoroughly 
excavated. 

We left the land of the proud and valiant moun- 
tain kings, that had defied the Empires of Carthage 
and of Rome, wrapped in its mountain mists under 
the stars Descending, we passed the great Byzan- 
tine fortress of Ksar el Kebir, and the ruins of baths 
and a Byzantine church. 

One more triumphal arch, and this dead city of 
the mountains was gone, but memory lingers over 
the temple reflected with the stars in the basins 
where the Medjerda rises. 

Bulla Regia. The city of "Royal Baal" stood on 
the banks of the Medjerda River, in the land of 
Numidia. To-day there is only a wilderness, but 
the wilderness blossoms with the rose of natural 
grandeur. The ruins here lie on the slopes of moun- 
tains that overlook the valley, and the ridges are 
covered with forests in which boar and wild game 
abound. 

The game are not always peaceful, for once, camp- 
ing at Bulla Regia, I witnessed a battle between 
black panthers The boars are so numerous and so 

264 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

destructive that not infrequently crops are laid 
waste, and the natives organise veritable expeditions 
against them. 

With excavation at Bulla Regia must always be 
associated the name of my friend Dr. Carton, who 
entertained the expedition at "the city of subter- 
ranean palaces/' Our lodgings were unique, and I 
claim that the Doctor had reconstructed the oldest 
hotel in the world, for the walls of the ruins were at 
least two thousand years old. They were actually 
cisterns, which had been whitewashed. Such is the 
use modern science makes of the enterprise of the 
past. Each room was furnished with a table, a 
bed and a chair. The table, what an anachronism, 
was a marble capital, and the wash-basin, in my 
room, was an early Christian baptismal font! 

The nights there can be bitterly cold, and damp 
fogs floated up from the marshes below the ruins, 
chilling us to the marrow. 

Dr Carton the famous pioneer of archaeology, was 
a typical adventurer-scientist, brave and patient, 
fighting for his subject, and died as the result of 
exposure and privation consequent upon his work 
at Bulla Regia. 

With Jules Renault, of Carthage, his name should 
be inscribed in the records of science and of history 
as a martyr to the advancement of learning. 

The enormous baths of Bulla Regia can be seen 
for miles, looming up like the horny spine of a mon- 
ster whose sightless eyes glare blindly at the world 

265 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Close to the baths are two groups of cisterns, in- 
credibly vast, used to-day as the dwellings of the 
Berbers. In the centre of the city are the ruins of 
the sacred temple, erected to the water divinity, 
from which the remains of an aqueduct stretch across 
gorse and cactus to Souk el Arba There are also 
ruins of a temple to Apollo and Augustus, where 
magnificent statuary was found, and a theatre, 
carved out of the hill-side. 

The chief marvels of the old Numidian city, how- 
ever, are the subterranean palaces, unique in archae- 
ological discovery. They were found only recently, 
and the indication of their presence arose from a 
strange coincidence. 

A hunter was following a fox, and tracked it to 
its lair in a hole under the heather. Reaching the 
hole, and looking in, the hunter was amazed to see a 
vast space below, and in the dim light could just 
distinguish upright columns and worked walls So 
the first palace was discovered and excavated. Such 
a find, of course, led to the continuance of explor- 
ation, and now the world is richer by the disinter- 
ment of a series of such buildings. 

The palaces are named after the mosaics found 
in the atrium, such as "The Peacock Palace," "The 
Palace of the Hunting Scene/' "The Palace of 
Venus." 

Each palace has a square area open to the sky, 
and carpeted with mosaic, in the centre of which 
stands a fountain of graceful design. The walls are 




Subterranean palace of Sulla Regia 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

still full of colour. From the courtyard access is 
gained to the living rooms, which to-day are re- 
splendent with moss and flowers, and trickling 
crystal water 

The palaces still have their upper floors, and are, 
with the exception of Cato's villa at Utica, the only 
two storey houses I have seen excavated in Africa 

It is not difficult to understand the reason for 
these subterranean palaces, in the heat of an African 
summer. The citizens of Bulla Regia lived in the 
cool depths of the underground rooms during the 
hot months and in winter they moved upstairs and 
enjoyed milder weather. It was a most admirable 
arrangement Instead of migrating to the shore, 
with consequent expense and difficulties (they had 
their transportation difficulties even in those days) 
they just changed floors with the climate. There 
are obvious indications that we have by no means 
exhausted the possibilities of excavation here, and 
we are faced with a glorious opportunity to carry 
on the work started by Dr. Carton. 

Next to Djerba and Utica, Bulla Regia offers the 
greatest archaeological opportunity, judging from 
results already obtained, which are not far short of 
being unbelievable. 

Little is yet known of the history of the city, 
except that it enjoyed a great reputation in the days 
of the Numidian kings and in the time of the Romans, 
but around the wild places are to be found megalithic 
remains, and on a little hill opposite the Numidian 

67 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

city there are strange, prehistoric, alignments of 
stones. 

We visited them one morning while the swirling 
mountain mists still hung over the place, and our- 
selves felt the awe they must have inspired in the 
hearts of primitive man. 

Bulla Regia is just off the main road from Car- 
thage to Constantine, and is within easy motoring 
distance of all the surrounding dead cities. From 
our camp there we made several visits to Dougga, 
Chemtou and Thurburnica. 

Chemtou Chemtou, within easy reach of Bulla 
Regia, is particularly interesting, and one of the 
weirdest of African ruins. Here, the ancient Simit- 
thu, were situated the quarries of Numidian marble 
whose name has weathered man's forgetfulness as long 
as her stone has weathered the storms of time. The 
city is in the Medjerda Valley, standing by the 
marble mountain, near the station of Oued Meliz 
A multitude of ruins wait for the pick and shovel, 
for the light railways excavators use, that her won- 
ders may be made visible again. 

The Forum is visible, as also is the theatre, with 
its orchestra paved with mosaic, and there are vast 
cisterns and baths. The natives call the cisterns the 
subterranean city (Medemit el Aud). 

The aqueduct itself would be worth a lifetime of 
research, and here it is particularly interesting, being 
partly raised and partly subterranean 

The quarries are probably the most interesting 

2G8 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

feature of Chemtou, where the working of the an- 
cient slaves are still to be seen, as well as unfinished 
columns half -worked, in the hillside. Both Phoeni- 
cians and Romans were taskmasters in these quar- 
ries, driving Numidian slaves to the hewing of Numi- 
dian marble, and to the north, across the mountains, 
lies the old road, still discernible, along which the 
marble was carried to the sea port of Tabarca The 
huge slabs were dragged or rolled by hundreds of 
slaves over the mountain passes Here is written 
in stone the tragedy of the underdog two thousand 
years ago. His lot was not easy. Life was but 
slightly preferable to death. 

Near this place the famous inscription of the little 
freemen, who were not quite slaves but were com- 
pelled to give a certain amount of unpaid labour, 
was discovered. Carved in the stone they worked 
was their plea to Commodus, and their protest 
against the terrors of life and the malice of their 
masters. And in stone, too, was the reply of Com- 
modus, their franchise, the slaves 5 magna charta. 

But not even these mines could have been so 
terrible in their administration as the mines of Sigus 
where Christian slaves worked in the cimmerian 
darkness of the bowels of the earth. For an adequate 
description of these horrors it is worth turning to 
Louis Bertrand's Sanglue Martyrum." There one 
lives again in the place and in the time of the terrors. 

These half finished columns at Chemtou are elo- 
quent, not only of the art and craftsmanship of the 

269 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Greek sculptors, but of the agony of men not born 
free in the days when the only real distinction was 
between the bond and the free. 

Cato the elder, speaking in 152 B.C. told of the 
wonderful "pavimenta Poenica"of the mansions of 
wealthy Romans, and at Utica we found the floors 
of one of the villas paved in this same warm-coloured 
Numidian marble. Carthage is full of it, and I have 
fished up pieces of the same stone at Sbeitla, Gigthis, 
off the isle of Djerba, and even encountered it on 
the borders of the Sahara, as well as in a dozen dead 
cities all over the country. 

Considering all things, it is not surprising that 
the slaves mutinied several times, and on one occa- 
sion their mutiny assumed considerable proportions. 

Thurburnica. From Chemtou, it is well to ride to 
the ruins of Thurburnica, a complete city of the dead, 
as yet untouched by archaeological research, and in 
a beautiful situation. Here, temples, mausoleums, 
palaces, baths, triumphal arches, roadways and a 
graceful bridge, are surrounded by a silent forest. 
We camped there in the ruins of a Byzantine fortress. 
The blaze of our fire illumined the ochre ruins, and 
chiselled them against the dark mass of the forest 
beyond. The wolves howled, outside the range of 
our fire, and occasionally the ghostly hoot of an 
owl added to the eerie atmosphere. 

No human presence spoiled the ruins All that 
prospered there was the riot of flowers and the moun- 
tain gorge. The old Roman arch rose from a field 

70 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

of violets, and the floor of the temple of Mercury 
was carpeted with moss, from which peeped prim- 
roses and scarlet pimpernels. A mad mountain 
stream dashed down by the ruins, to flow under the 
bridge that Augustine and Cyprian crossed on the 
road that went from Carthage to Hippo, by way 
of Thurburnica. 

Spreading to the horizon is the valley of the 
Medjerda, leaving the enclosed and sleeping city, 
and in the dim distance the Algerian frontier stands, 
in the purple hills of Numidia. Above are the hot 
baths, where the ancients, as was their habit, erected 
a beautiful nympheum to their water divinities 

Here is vision and romance. I was sketching 
there one day when some Berber maidens came to 
bathe in the clear waters, and for once I was caught 
back across the span of many centuries. It seemed 
as they laughed and splashed, that the nymphs and 
satyrs had returned, that the gods were coming to 
earth again in an African paradise of flowered moss 
and shady groves. The world was far away. 

It will always be far away from beautiful Thur- 
burnica with its olives and pines, and its ivory ruins 
framed in the everlasting green, jewelled with the 
flowers of the garden of Africa. 

Dougga. The ancient city of Thugga, or, as it is 
now called, Dougga, is the gem of the dead civilisa- 
tions of Africa. There is none to approach it for 
beauty on the continent, and none to surpass it on 
the shores of the Mediterranean. 

271 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

It is not a place to be "taken in 5 ' in an hour or 
two. It is not anxious to reveal itself to the passer- 
by, rather it is the place wherein men must woo the 
muses, and quietly look on the scene of past splen- 
dour, to dream again. At night, the temple columns 
rise like shafts of gold outlined against a pall of 
velvet in the moonlight, with a myriad of stars glisten- 
ing overhead. 

The fortunate man sees the sunset beyond the 
Temple of Coelestis, Africa's most sublime ruin, 
when the rays of the departing sun turn the graceful 
marble pillars into columns of blazing fire. 

Rarest thing of all, I saw the theatre of Dougga in 
a storm, with the lightning flashing, and thunder 
rolling in the crags and echoing in the distant moun- 
tains. 

This is a city of gods, and of men like gods. 
Beauty possessed their souls, and genius was their 
endowment. Not in this earth is there the equal 
in grace and beauty of the marble temple that 
crowns the hill. To see Dougga is to see anti- 
quity, to weep for an age of beauty that may not 
return. 

In the midst of scenery fitting for the mounting 
of the jewel, are the theatre, the Capitol, the Temple 
of Coelestis, and the Punic Mausoleum. 

Each is an ineffably magnificent structure, and to 
crown the glory of their conception, time has given 
a superb tone to the stones themselves. Old gold 
and ivory, sepia, orange, vermilion and ochre battle 

872 




Dougga View from Rear of Cello, 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

with shadows of purple and green against sapphire 
skies. Colour trembles in the air, and the mellowed 
ruins are caught up in touches of polychrome that 
have baffled the rolling centuries. 

Dougga is only a few hours distant from Tunis, 
and the roads wind smoothly, with an enchantment 
of their own. The traveller passes over a bridge 
made from the ancient stones of Madressa, called 
Medyez el Bab. Near the mountains, as we ap- 
proach is the dead city of Ain Tounga, the old 
Thignica. 

This must have been a place of considerable im- 
portance in the days when the legions passed on the 
military road from Carthage to Theveste. In the 
centre of the ruins rises the Byzantine fortress, a 
magnificent old pile, which would be interesting to 
explore in detail. It is composed of capitals, in- 
scriptions, statues, steles and stones of varying sizes 
and texture, hurriedly gathered together by the Byzan- 
tines in their mad haste to fortify the land. 

North Africa is dotted everywhere with these 
Byzantine relics, the fortresses that were constructed 
of any material that came readily to hand, for the 
Byzantines were not archaeologists and regarded the 
past infinitely less than they tried to safeguard the 
present. Byzantine fortresses are actually museums, 
but museums made for defence, not for the advance- 
ment of science. 

The fortress of Ain Tounga is typical of the hun- 
dreds of such erections, and merits inspection. It 

273 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

is worth while to climb over it, exploring the walls 
and deciphering the inscriptions. 

A number of the more important sections of the 
fortification still stand. Chief among them are the 
Triumphal arch and the temple. 

Probably the most important Byzantine fortress I 
have seen is at Haidra, the ancient Ammoedara, on 
the Algerian-Tunisian frontier. It is a digression, 
but a forgiveable one, to say a word or two about 
it, for it conveys a better impression of the Byzan- 
tines than any other. The walls are over two hun- 
dred yards long and rise like an enormous derelict 
in the desert, standing in the shadow of the mountain 
caUed the "table of Jugurtha." This, like all the 
other fortresses, was built, with towers and gateways 
and precipitous walls, to withstand the invasions 
of the Arabs from the desert. 

From Ain Tounga, the road to Dougga frequently 
crosses the old Roman road, and we see the paving 
stones and bridges every few miles. Before Dougga 
is reached our way takes us through Teboursouk, an 
Arab village now, but once a Roman city, called 
Thubursicum Bure. 

Climbing swiftly, we turn on the crest of the hills, 
and there, before us, in a blaze of sunlight, outlined 
against the bluest of skies, rise the gracef til columns 
of Dougga. 

Mounting the seats of the theatre, still intact, one 
obtains the most magnificent panorama Africa can 
offer, after the view from the hills of Carthage. 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

Falling away, before the spectator, are the empty 
seats of the theatre that once held the choicest and 
rarest of Roman warriors and their ladies The tiers 
sweep away in a graceful semi-circle to the mosaic 
floor of the orchestra and the stage, with a back- 
ground of magnificent columns. The finest theatre 
of Africa is before us, and, fortunately, as in the case 
of the theatre at Khamissa, the f agade is almost mtact. 

For many years the Services des Antiquites of the 
French authorities have been working on the restor- 
ation of this gem, and now it stands almost as it 
stood for the excited crowds who witnessed the 
spectacles here 

Between the columns lies an endless vista of flower 
strewn fields, leading to mountains fissured by ra- 
vines that are transformed to the shadow of the 
imperial purple that was Rome, and covered by the 
brilliant emerald foliage of olive and cypress, with 
here and there a shimmering gleam of silver, as a 
stream flows along its course 

On either hand is the dead city Above us tower 
the columns of the temple of Saturn, as graceful 
and slender as the strings of the lyre of the Gods. 
There is nothing but grandeur and beauty. These 
two and silence. The air is brisk, and fresh with 
the purity of high windswept places. The land- 
scape is clear, almost transparent, utterly unearthly 
and mysterious. Everything, colour, air, stone and 
imagination conspire to recreate the mystery of 
ancient palaces and temples. 

275 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

There is a path from the theatre, through an 
Arab village, to the perfect Capitolean temple, 
erected in the time of Marcus Aurelius, and dedi- 
cated to the Trinity of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. 
Crossing scores of fallen columns and capitals to 
the "courtyard of the winds," we are confronted by 
the temple that has inspired Louis Bertrand and 
Gaston Boissiere to words that will remain in living 
language even beyond the duration of the temple 
itself It has been described scientifically times 
enough for any addition by me to be unnecessary, 
and in verse and prose by masters whose diction I 
may not even imitate All that I may do is to try 
to talk about these ruins of Africa It is the in- 
tensity of colour that first assails the senses, gold 
and crimson, sienna and cream, with veins of amber . 
that is the Capitole. The winds have modelled 
crevices and softened the corners of the stones, 
while the sun has burned the hues of sunset into the 
walls. 

The setting is matchless To the right is a grace- 
ful little forum, with a smiling temple, whose Corin- 
thian doorway has a soft carmine tint. Beyond is 
the temple to Augustus, and further distant a vague 
agglomeration of the ruins of roadways and palaces. 
Thistles and bluebells grow between the stones, and 
deep moss covers the base of tall columns From 
the temple steps one sees, in the valley below, the 
famous Libyo-Phoenician mausoleum. 

It stands on the slopes of an olive-clad hill, look- 

276 




Dougga Capitoleum, front vtew 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

mg out across the famous battle-fields, and is the 
most perfect example of Punic architecture remain- 
ing in Africa. It is a massive tomb, more than 
twenty metres high, and dating from approximately 
the fourth century B c. 

Until recently it had resisted time, weather, and 
the spleen of the Romans, standing there in peace 
against the corrosion of years and the successive 
invaders, who either cherished its beauty or con- 
sidered it of no military importance. The old grey 
stones have mellowed with age, and a serenity that 
comes only with the centuries has softened its sharp 
outlines. Four-square it stands among the gnarled 
old olives, a memory of the past, witness to the dead, 
and the labour of the slaves, an immense three- 
tiered building, surmounted by a pyramid. 

Its three floors are obviously Greek in spirit, but 
the pyramid is reminiscent of Egypt. Nowhere have 
I seen a more perfect embodiment of the best of two 
great conceptions. 

The lower floor, supported on its foundations of 
steps, is decorated, as are the others, with pillars 
speaking of Greek art. The walls are broken grace- 
fully by "blind" windows, and on the eastern side 
is the door. 

The next floor is practically a duplication of the 
first, maintaining the square formation, though re- 
ceding a little, and decorated in Ionic style. The 
third storey is slenderer, and more profusely decor- 
ated, with pedestals at the corners of the building 

277 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

carrying sculptures of horsemen. On the walls are 
bas-reliefs of quadriges, four-horsed chariots some- 
what conventionalised. 

Above the whole rises the pyramid, at whose angles 
are four great statues of winged female figures, pos- 
sibly "Victories " Sheer into the wind, silhouetted, 
against the sky, on the pinnacle of the pyramid, 
stands a lion. 

The mausoleum, however, that stood its ground 
against Romans, Berbers, Vandals, and every scourge 
that whipped Carthage, suffered at the hands of 
over hasty science. On its face was a stone, in the 
two languages, Lybian and Phoenician, a great com- 
mentary and a most useful clue to the languages of 
which we know so little. Sir Thomas Read, then 
British Consul, realising its great interest and sig- 
nificance, obtained permission for the inscription to 
be sent to the British Museum. 

His workmen, in attempting to secure the text, 
were not so careful of the superstructure as they 
might have been, with the consequence that columns 
that had rested undisturbed for twenty-four cen- 
turies were thrown out of place, and considerable 
damage done, which now has to be repaired. The 
Services des Antiquites is at work restoring the 
mausoleum to its original state, though the inscrip- 
tion still remains in the British Museum. 

The incident is regrettable, for Sir Thomas Read 
was a great and gentle man, and though he rendered 
magnificent service to humanity in prevailing upon 

78 




The Libyo-Pumc Mausoleum at Dougga 



THE GOLDEN CITIES 

the Bey to abolish slavery throughout his dominions, 
this one error of overzealousness is counted against 
him, and has occasioned much exasperation. 

Following the path through the Capitol, by a grove 
of olive trees whipped by the wind and gnarled 
with age, one comes to the Temple of Coelestis, the 
most perfect individual splendour among all the 
ruins. It is one of the world's romances in 
stone. 

Ancient Dougga is most entrancing in moonlight, 
for the African moon is somehow softer and more 
golden than in other places, as though her beams 
were tempered to the ancient places and fell more 
gently on the ruins of days whose glory has become 
only a memory. Once, we built a fire by the steps 
of the temple^ that the light might people the shadows 
anew. The flickering flames gave a vestige of life 
to the ancient place The spectres of the past 
camped with us, and Dougga became real again 

Here could be enacted the whole gamut of African 
Mythology, all her wondrous history staged on the 
arena of her ruins. Possibly in the future, not too 
far distant, we may, on the ancient stage of the 
theatre, present the epic of the country it adorns 

Beyond are the plains of Zama, where Hannibal 
was at last ignored by destiny Further afield is 
the road to Sicca Veneris, along which marched the 
revolted mercenaries. In the surrounding moun- 
tains fought the mighty giants of Numidia, Mas- 
sinissa, Jugurtha and Juba, and in Dougga itself, 

279 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Vandals and Christians (Donatists and Catholics), 
fought a hand-to-hand fight from house to house. 

The place equals the spirit it breathes. It evokes 
Hannibal, Hamilcar, Salammbo, Sophonisba, Dido, 
Tertullian, the Kahena, Cyprian of Carthage and 
Augustine of Thagaste, the dancers of Hesperides 
guarding the golden apples, the mystery of the lost 
Atlantis, the Lotus Eaters, and the myths of the 
desert and the legends of Greece These are the 
spirit of Dougga, where a lost world awaits to be 
resurrected. 



280 




Past and Present 



CHAPTER XVI 

UTICA EXCAVATION OF THE PARENT CITY 

UTICA lies two kilometres off the road from Tunis 
to Bizerta, and in early history was a peninsula 
closely resembling the peninsula of Carthage to-day, 
only not quite so large A semi-circle of purpled 
hills surrounds the ruins that once looked out over 
the sea 

The city was one and a half miles long, and half 
a mile across, washed by the sea on three sides The 
Medjerda River is continuing the work of silting 
up the land, a work begun in the third and fourth 
centuries A D 

Until some thirty years ago the site of Utica was 
simply a stretch of marshes that were a hotbed of 
malaria Recently, however, the brothers Chaban- 
nes-La Palice have irrigated and redeemed the land 
on either side of Utica, to the sea shore, and trans- 
formed it into one of the biggest and most prosperous 
farms in Africa. 

Counts Jean and Jacques de Chabannes are de- 
scendants of crusaders who fought and died with St. 

281 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Louis, at Carthage in 1270 They bought the 
of TJtica for a song, just after the French occupat 
of Tunisia, and their farm now covers a quarter 
the ancient city. This section, according to i 
investigations, and those of the Abbe Moulard, 
entirely Roman. The more important Phoenid 
settlement is on the last half mile of the lower e 
of the Peninsula. 

The old Roman cisterns and the ruins of the gr< 
edifices have been turned into farm buildings, el 
trie light plants, garages, pig-styes and store hous 
There are inscriptions embedded in the walls 
some of the stables. 

From the summit of the acropolis, one can see t 
vast results of the agricultural enterprise of th< 
two noblemen. Thousands of acres of grain, coui 
less herds of sheep and cattle now are raised on t 
land where once the fleets of Tyre and Carthage a 
Rome were enclosed. 

On dry land, thanks to the vagaries of the Me 
jerda, I have walked over the place where the gre 
naval battle between Rome and Carthage was f oug 
in the second Punic war, just off the walls of TJti< 
and naturally, I wondered if we should find na\ 
relics, were we to dig there. 

The whole site of the Phoenician colony, and or 
time Roman capital of Africa, is rich with priced 
marbles from many an ancient quarry on the shoi 
of the Mediterranean. No question exists, in B 
mind, of the artistic, archaeological and historic 

282 



UT1CA EXCAVATION OP THE PARENT CITY 

importance of a prolonged campaign at Utica It 
should occupy at least five years 

The "Island" on which lie the great Egyptian 
granite columns of the Temple of Apollo, is certainly 
one of the most important sites of North "Africa 
waiting for scientific excavation. This Phoenician 
temple to the Greek sun-god Apollo possibly cor- 
responded with the cult of the sun-baal of the Car- 
thaginians, Baal-Hammon. Pliny amply testifies to 
the gorgeous richness of the temple, and its repute 
spread to the ends of the earth (Pliny, Elder, xvi 
216). 

On this "Isle" there are also the ruins of quays 
pronounced by scientists to be the first probable 
traces of the early Tyrians in Africa. The further- 
most point is covered with rich buildings, chief 
among which are the ruins of the elaborate hot baths 
of Utica. Count Chabannes pumped the water 
from a stagnant pond here, years ago, and for an 
hour or two was able to examine the magnificent 
mosaic floors and the summits of several exquisite 
fluted columns, which were still erect. The water 
gained on him, however, and rose to its normal level, 
to cover the treasures until the day comes when we 
can not only pump the water away, but lay down 
ditches in a complete system of drainage that will 
take care of the flood. We shall finally have to 
run the water off into the marshes, but that will take 
time and money. 

The water comes from a hot sulphur spring, and 

283 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

it is more than probable that the spring existed in 
the days of Utica's glory, and that the baths in the 
vicinity were actually a complete spa- Throughout 
Africa I have found baths near the hot sulphur 
springs, relics of a time when the luxury of bathing 
was freely indulged, a condition which, I am sorry 
to say, has left few traces in the habits of the present 
occupants of the wilderness. 

On the "mainland/ 5 opposite the ruins of the 
Temple of Apollo, are a group of Roman villas 
and a Phoenician necropolis of the fourth century 
B.C. waiting to be laid bare. In some places, the 
sandstone edges of the sarcophagi are actually ap- 
pearing through the clay. 

For convenience, we speak of the "island" and 
the "mainland" at Utica, but they are terms in- 
tended to indicate the geography of the place two 
thousand years ago. To-day, of course, as I have 
pointed out, there is no sea, and "isle" and "main- 
land" are one, wedded by the silt of the Medjerda, 
grain by grain, piled up during sixteen hundred 
years. 

Below the acropolis, soundings have showed us 
Punic tombs, a Christian basilica, and an unidenti- 
fied edifice with columns standing upright, the lower 
half of which is standing in water. The acropolis 
of Utica seems to have been searched, for treasure 
and building material, but Abbe Moulard uncovered 
forty yards of wall belonging to Phoenician times, 
near which, one morning, I dug up a Punic inscrip- 

284 



UTICA EXCAVATION OF THE PARENT CITY 

tion so worn by the elements that Abbe Chabot has 
not succeeded yet in deciphering it. Perhaps it is 
more than probable the goddess Tanit had a sanc- 
tuary on these slopes. 

The acropolis to-day has the twin Arab marabouts 
on its summit, and the tombs of Moslem conquerors. 
Below, looking towards Carthage, are the ruins of 
the theatre, the richness of its material suggesting 
that this, rather than the other theatres near the 
acropolis, is the one that Julius Caesar describes so 
vividly in the notes of his African campaigns. 

Its position certainly was unique, with the sea on 
either side, and the great marble columns lying 
shrouded in the soil support Caesar's testimony to 
its beauty and chaste proportions. 

All the region of the acropolis, and below it, is 
open for archaeological research. There is no real- 
estate problem here, as there is at Carthage, for the 
Count de Chabannes has "placed the whole "domaine 
d'TJtica," as it is called, at the disposal of Abb6 
Moulard and myself. He has also put mules and 
carts and rails at our service, to carry away the 
excavated earth, which we dump into the great 
marshes. 

This is a wise combination of archaeology and 
agriculture, for the land so reclaimed is turned to 
good purpose. By serving science, Count de Cha- 
bannes extends his acres. 

The entire region is free of houses, exactly the 
reverse of Carthage, and it was not used so much as 

285 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

a quarry, like Carthage, which helped to build Tunis., 
Granada, Pisa and Genoa. Utica escaped the holo- 
caust. No Roman raised the fires of vengeance with 
a warcry like Cato's "Delenda est Carthago," out- 
come of fury and spleen, Utica was not cursed by 
Scipio, and so far has escaped the devouring real- 
estate agent. It has escaped the tourist invasion, 
and here we shall not hear the foolish questions of 
the pseudo-scientific. It is hard to credit, but it 
is actually true that a certain group at Carthage 
wanted to know why "the naughty Romans dyna- 
mited the city!" 

The farms of the Chabannes, their chateau, and 
the homes of the many hundred workmen employed 
lessen the sense of desolation on the plain, but other- 
wise only the silent ruins, the dreary marshes, and 
the farm lands fill the landscape. But, like Car- 
thage, Utica is a starting point for memory. Where 
desolation is was once a mighty people, a nation with 
a great history, for whom now the few stones speak. 
Yet, I hope that before long the glory of Utica 
will be apparent, and her magnificence speak for itself 

The funds for such work as has been done in the 
past were raised during my lecture tour of America 
and Canada, with private donations from Dr W. 
Maloney and W. F. Kenny of New York, Count 
de Chabannes provided for the collaboration of Abbe 
Moulard, the material, and the site, while the cost 
of the scientific publication of Abbe Moulard came 
from the general fund, which amounted to Frs. 50,000. 



UTICA EXCAVATION OF THE PARENT CITY 

I am now trying to raise one hundred thousand francs 
a year for Utica, which will ensure a worthy excava- 
tion on a good scale 

Utica is practically untouched as regards excava- 
tion. In 1860 a few soundings were made by Nathan 
Davis, the results of which are now in the British 
Museum, including a few mosaics and a head found 
in the Temple of Apollo. Sainte Marie did a little 
work in 1884, and so did Davis and Herisson In 
1907 Pere Delattre went over from Carthage to 
assist Count de Chabannes in the exploration of 
several tombs of the Phoenician necropolis. Un- 
fortunately the development of the farm has caused 
the destruction of several important ruins, though 
Count Jean de Chabannes has made a little museum 
in the chateau, and has had several mosaics taken 
up and roofed. 

The museum is now well arranged and catalogued 
by Abbe Moulard, and contains several gold treasures 
from the Phoenician tombs, which alone are well 
worth a visit. 

The serious work of excavation was inaugurated 
in 1922, under the supervision of Abbe Moulard, 
and was confined to the Phoenician tombs, with the 
object of discovering material for the documentation 
of the first Phoenician colonists of North Africa. 

It had long been my own ambition to open a 
serious excavation at Utica, and I had many times 
searched for the superficial indications of the great 
buildings that once made the marble city the envy 

287 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

of mankind. Nothing remains to-day that can give 
an adequate understanding of the majesty of the 
past. It is no longer a port, but has been pushed 
back, miles from the sea. That very change in the 
situation makes TJtica more desirable from the point 
of view of the archaeologist. The marine works will 
probably be more easily uncovered, and reconstruc- 
tion made comparatively easy. 

As in other cities of the country, there are num- 
berless small objects which are brought to the sur- 
face by the rain, to serve as indications of the 
wealth that lies below, and history serves us well in 
an attempt to visualise the city, as it once rode, 
like a jewel, on the sea. 

Utica, in its pride, must have been a magnificent 
sight. An interesting feature, proof of its ostenta- 
tious wealth, were the three theatres and the great 
hippodrome. These buildings were so situated that 
they commanded a view of the sea on three sides, 
and I have come to the conclusion that the ancients 
built their cities and their great buildings with a due 
sense of fitness and of setting. From the seats of 
the theatres, spectators would have a view of the 
great spectacles on the stage, and the immensity of 
the view to the horizon must have enhanced in no 
small way the beauty of the presentation. Not only 
at TJtica, but at Carthage, Dougga, and in many 
other cities, the theatres were so placed that they 
commanded a panorama of inspiring natural beauty. 
Utica must have been unique, even among the most 



UTICA EXCAVATION OP THE PABENT CITY 

magnificent of its competitors, giving the impression 
that it was placed in the midst of the sea. Its 
Phoenician citizens must have loved the sea, and 
everything that pertained to it, for sea emblems are 
to be found on many of the objects we have re- 
covered, and naval spectacles were often staged 

There were rows of seats in a semi-circle at the 
entrance to the Admiralty harbour, where probably 
the people gathered to welcome their returning gal- 
leys Opposite, on the "island" stood the mighty 
Admiralty buildings, between which, and the cheer- 
ing crowds, the fleets manoeuvred Even a feeble 
imagination can visualise the scene, and anticipate 
the rush for good seats when the fleet was signalled, 
or the eagerness of those who watched to see if then- 
loved ones were among those who had reached home 
safely. 

But now the site is covered, in part by the barren 
marshes, and in part by the grazing lands of the 
Chabannes farms. At night the owl hoots among the 
crumbling stones, and is answered by the jackal in 
the hills. Melancholy desolation rules in the stead 
of fashion and splendour, but the ruins speak a 
language of their own, more eloquent than words. 

This then, was the field that was calling me, and 
in the five years that I have been exploring and 
excavating in North Africa, I have never seen a 
richer site, nor have results been so great as they 
were almost from the moment when we began to dig 
in earnest, during the early part of 1925. 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

We explored and ran trial trenches for some days, 
and there was a shadow of disappointment when 
our soundings gave no result. We knew, of 
course, that we could move on to other places, where 
we were certain of ruins, but we had begun at the 
place where de Chabannes had found the Punic 
tombs. It looked as though the tombs did not 
continue further, but one morning, when Abbe 
Moulard and I were cataloguing certain items in 
the museum, our foreman, de la Rocca, ran in to 
say that a tomb had been located. 

Cataloguing could wait on discovery, so we raced 
the foreman back to the spot, and were, over- 
joyed to see the corner of a great sarcophagus ap- 
pearing. 

The soil is hard and deep, and it took considerable 
time to lift the lid. We were working, I remember, 
for four solid hours, loading the earth into mule- 
trucks, to be carried away over the rails to the dump, 
and everything had to be sifted carefully, lest we 
should miss some little thing indicative of greater 
discoveries. The tombs themselves are, on an aver- 
age, four to five metres deep, and lie East to West. 
They are much more massive than the tombs found 
at Carthage, and are made of stone quarried at 
Cape Bon, a greyish-red sandstone. 

I visited the source of this stone several years ago, 
to measure the quarries, for much of the stone in 
and around Carthage and Utica must have been 
worked there, and carried to the various cities. 

290 



UTICA EXCAVATION OF THE PARENT CITY 

The workings extend over thirteen kilometres, and 
the face of the stone shows that slabs of incredible 
size were cut and transported. 

Cape Bon is the ancient Cape Hermes, and the 
quarry was known to be in operation as far back as 
the seventh century before Christ (See Gsell, VoL II, 
p. 142) and the slabs were shipped on barges to 
Carthage and Utica (see also Diodorus, XX, 6, 3. 
Strabo, XVII, 3, 16). 

It is almost a labour of Hercules to move some of 
the sarcophagi today, and often it took eight of 
our men to raise even the lids, and then we had the 
assistance of modern jacks and winches The rich 
Uticans, however, had labour as cheap as the Pha- 
raohs in Egypt, and these tombs are witnesses of their 
pride. 

The publication of Pere Delattre (Contes rendu. 
Acad. Inscr , 1906, pp. 60, 62) places these tombs at 
the fifth century B c. but M Merlin is inclined to 
believe them to be earlier, due to the discovery of a 
little Bucchero Nero cup, which dates from the 
sixth or seventh century B.C. 

The tombs already mentioned were the only Punic 
discoveries made up to the 1925 campaign (see 
Gsell, Vol. H, 145) and the first tomb found this 
year contained only traces of a skeleton, and a bronze 
razor. 

I remember how amused the people were, who 
watched the opening of the tomb, when I held up 
the razor 

291 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Standing around were the Countess de Prorok, 
Mrs. Stoever, the Abb6 Chabot, Count Jean de 
Chabannes, and many others who, though they could 
not get their hands to the picks and shovels for 
want of space wherein to work, were urging us to 
redoubled efforts. Our New York Times corre- 
spondent mentioned that surely it must be a bar- 
ber's tomb, and I explained that his guess was not 
improbable, for in ancient Carthage they had sacred 
barbers. 

The razors were hatchet shaped, and shaving must 
have been rough, and many an old Phoenician must 
have had his skin thoroughly well scraped. Similar 
razors have been found at Carthage, and date from 
the sixth century B.C. Gsell thinks that these 
hatchets are symbolic talismans not rare in antiquity. 
The negroes of Tanganyika, near the equator, use 
similar razors to-day, and the ancient Egyptians 
made their instruments in the same shape. (Gsell, 
Vol. IV, p. 77). 

The second tomb, discovered a few days later, 
deep in the clay, held a skeleton in a better state of 
preservation, and two little perfume bottles, two 
objects that looked like little bronze bells, and traces 
of rouge. The bottles were said to have come from 
Egypt, for the most part, but these at Utica showed 
unmistakably Greek influence in many of the de- 
signs. The bells were sacred emblems, and are sup- 
posed to have been used for the purpose of frighten- 
ing away evil spirits. 

292 



UTICA EXCAVATION OF THE PARENT CITY 

The third tomb was discovered below a Roman 
cistern, and had suffered in consequence. The con- 
tents were practically rotted away Steady infil- 
tration had permeated the lid, and the sarcophagus 
was nearly full of earth and rain water. The fore- 
man gently removed the earth, which was sifted, 
but we found only a few beads and traces of bones. 

The fourth tomb contained several beautiful and 
important pieces of early Phoenician jewelry. When 
the heavy lid was at last thrown back and wedged 
into position, we saw the skeleton well outlined, and 
by the right hand a glitter of gold indicated that 
we had discovered an important tomb. Lying 
among the ribs we could distinguish another signifi- 
cant object, and there were two gold discs on either 
side of the skull. The position of the objects was 
carefully noted, and a drawing made by Mr. George 
Scott, of Cornell University, one of my assistants. 

The preliminary sketch of the ensemble is an im- 
portant detail, never now omitted. 

Jewelry was worn profusely by the ancient Phoe- 
nicians. Both men and women alike adorned them- 
selves to such an extent that their showiness became 
a byword among the nations. 

The fifth and sixth centuries B.C. must have been 
great days in the history of Utica, for wonderful 
jewelry was found by us in nearly all these tombs. 
The ring found in this particular tomb was of pure 
gold, and covered with Egyptian hieroglyphics that 
the Abbe Moulard believed corresponded with the 

93 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

reign of Thothmes III, The ring was oval in shape, 
flattened on one side, and fitted easily on my fourth 
finger. The other object was a cornelian scarab, 
with a clear cut figure of a man on it, perhaps a 
portrait of the dead man himself. At Carthage, 
Pere Delattre found several rings on skeleton fingers, 
the engraved faces corresponding exactly with the 
heads sculptured on the lid of the coffin. 

Earrings were common to both sexes of the 
Phoenicians, though sometimes only one ring was 
worn. The earrings in this tomb were of gold, gold 
that had been brought from Central Africa and across 
the Sahara, perhaps to Gigthis and thence shipped 
to Utica. 

It was distressing, but essential, that, during the 
time of excavation at Utica I was compelled to rush 
backwards and forwards between the work there and 
the work at Carthage nearly every day. The Abbe 
Moulard was left to supervise the work in my 
absence, with the successive assistance of Paul 
Groseille, Horton O'Neill, C. C. Wells, George Scott, 
William Morris and Rey de Vilette, who took turns 
during the three months' excavation. 

Maurice Kellerman, of the "Pathe News" made a 
detailed film of all the excavations and the opening 
of the tombs. He, too, was kept racing between 
Carthage and Utica, to be on hand at every new 
discovery. The documentation of finds on an ex- 
cavating expedition is a much greater task than is 
generally appreciated. Literally hundreds of photo- 



UTICA EXCAVATION OF THE PARENT CITY 

graphs were taken by a battery of photographers at 
each of the sites 

Punic tombs and sanctuaries, Ceramic specimens, 
Roman cisterns and villas, Christian chapels and 
a quarry or two were being excavated at the same 
time, and I had only one body, to be in many places 
at once. 

The sixth and eighth tombs at Utica were empty 
of everything except the skeletons. One wondered 
if they were patriotic citizens who had given up their 
gold in some national crisis. It was common in 
those days for the people to surrender their jewels 
in the time of strife and need. At Carthage the 
women even gave their hair to make bowstrings, 
which may, or may not, have been the origin of the 
first bobbed-hair craze. 

The ninth tomb was that of the dancing girl. 

The charm of archaeology palls a little, if one 
does the actual pick-axing and shovelling himself, 
but it is my firm belief that the seeker should put 
his hand to the manual labour from time to time, 
and enjoy his own actual discoveries. Probably 
most people think that the excavation of lost cities 
is done by Arabs in picturesque costumes, while the 
organisers sit by and look on, waiting for the great 
finds. At Utica and Carthage, however, it was often 
preferable to do the delicate work personally, and 
many an hour I spent in the blazing heat, digging 
at the tombs 

In the case of this tomb, labour brought its own 

95 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

reward, for it was my pick that found, at Utica, the 
wonderful sarcophagus There was no special reason 
why I should have relieved that particular work- 
man of his tools, I suppose he was nearest, or the 
least energetic at that moment, but I swung away 
for an hour, and then hit something a crack, and 
knew it was stone. Then I carefully enlarged the 
hole, and gave a positive whoop as I found that I 
was uncovering a tomb. I had discovered a treasure 
house of the dead. 

My own unaided progress was too slow for me, 
so I called in my companions, and we worked for 
hours shovelling away the earth. By sunset the 
lid was free, and the jacks and winches were brought 
into play. 

The same impatience takes us every time. We 
are never educated in self-restraint, but crowd in 
and try to catch a glimpse of the contents of each 
discovery through the opening as the jacks begin 
to take hold. Our Arabs are the same. Before it 
was possible to see into the tomb, we were all lying 
flush with the lid, ignoring the dirt, almost flat on 
our faces, with the Arabs crowding behind us. Just 
as one of the men operating the jacks said "It is 
full of gold," one jack slipped, and it looked as though 
the lid would fall back into place, possibly taking 
somebody's hand or arm with it, but fortunately the 
second jack held, and we were all saved either in- 
jury or disappointment. The lid was slipped back 
and wedged with stones, and we scrambled to our 

296 



UTICA EXCAVATION OP THE PARENT CITY 

feet to see if the Arab had exaggerated. It did look 
as though the tomb was full of gold! A thin film 
of dust lay over the contents, but we saw a magnifi- 
cent necklace shining through the veil. 

Then we had to wait again, for Mr. Kellerman to 
get his apparatus in position, and for other people 
to focus their cameras. The skeleton was quite 
distinct in outline, and very carefully we began to 
take out the earth, removing the jewelry after its 
position had been carefully marked. First there 
came a fine cameo, set in a solid gold ring. It was 
made for a very small finger, and we thought that 
we had disturbed the last resting place of a lady of 
quality among the ancient Phoenicians of Utica. 
The next article found near the fingers was a finely 
cut scarab, and then we removed the sand that had 
collected round the head. 

Treasures were uncovered more rapidly. Beau- 
tiful earrings of delicately worked gold, a chain of 
golden stars and gold drops. There were a hundred 
and fifty stars around the little girl's neck. 

Our specialists had read the message of the skeleton 
while we were gently removing the objects. All 
that remained of the young woman were the orna- 
ments that had adorned her, and the bones that said 
she was five feet tall and yet in her teens. 

Beside her were tear and perfume bottles and, 
finally, other things that told us more about her, 
the bronze cymbals which indicated a dancing girl. 

Her audiences must have made her a favourite, 

297 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

and in her last farewell covered her with jewels, to 
make her tomb the richest found in Africa, with the 
exception of the Egyptian potentates. 

There is no doubt that a touch of sadness clouded 
our faces as the gay little dancer took her final 
curtain. At least she had a distinguished audience, 
and though her twinkling feet had long ceased to 
tread the mystic rhythm, surely never audience was 
so moved or so sympathetic. 

The amphitheatres may have held senators and 
aristocrats, and the galleries have been crowded with 
the commoners of her day, but, when the cymbals 
were again brought to light it was in the presence 
of people who looked back across the centuries and 
sent her kindly thoughts. For the last call, her 
audience included the Grand Duchess Marie Pav- 
lovna of Russia, the Due de Clermont Tonnere, 
Marquis de Guise, Prince and Princess Jean de 
Faucigny, Baron and Baroness Rodolphe d'Erlanger, 
and Count Phillipe d'Estailleur. 

Gently, the world who had never seen the idol 
of Utica clothed the bones with personality, and as 
gently laid her to rest again as the setting sun in a 
parting salute flooded her tomb with light, and we 
hoped for forgiveness from the merry little soul of 
the dancer of Utica. We had disturbed her cen- 
turies of sleep, and sighed a last tribute to the beauty 
that must have been. 

Tomb number ten was opened in my absence, and 
among the bones was a bronze fish-hook. One won- 

98 



UTICA EXCAVATION OP THE PARENT CITY 

ders if this was a patient fisherman who, centuries 
ago, in view of crossing the Styx hoped to try his 
luck just once more. Similar objects have been 
found at Carthage (Gsell, Vol IV, p. 75). 

The eleventh tomb had traces of a white veil 
around the head, the only shreds of cloth we had 
seen in any of the tombs up to that moment The 
dampness of the Utican marshes destroys all the 
materials that have been put into the tombs. Even 
this powdery shroud disappeared in a few moments. 
It had covered the head for twenty-five centuries, 
to vanish the moment we raised the lid of the tomb 

In one of the tombs, we discovered strange little 
objects, hollow, and shaped like animals, which must 
have been toys. Another had a string of beads, 
corresponding to artificial jewelry. They were made 
of some sort of composition, identical with those we 
have found in the tombs at the Sanctuary of Tanit, 
at Carthage Made of paste or cement, they were 
glazed or varnished to give the appearance of precious 
stones. The beads are in the images of the gods, 
and bear the signs of Tanit, Isis, Osiris, Horus, 
Anubis and Bes, charms supposed to have prophy- 
lactic value, as well as to afford protection against 
disaster and the evil eye. 

Here were the "sacred eye" the open hand, and 
a veritable menagerie of crocodiles, cats, jackals, 
etc In Sardinia, as well as on the northern part 
of the continent of Africa, these varnished jewels 
are found in the oldest tombs We have discovered 

299 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

hundreds of similar objects, whose composition varies 
from cement to alabaster and semi-precious stones. 
The necklaces were usually composed of amulets 
and jewels, and I have collected several dead pearls 

In another tomb we found a corroded metal object 
nearly worn away by the action of the water, which 
looked like a pair of scissors Near it were some 
rusted pins (fibulae) Probably we were in the 
presence of some dead seamstress or tailor The 
once busy hands were distinct, though nearly dust, 
and the fingers were long, as though they must have 
been nimble and dexterous. 

The twelfth tomb was not rich, but it contained 
a surprise. The objects were near the motionless 
hands, telling their tale as plainly as though men 
from the past had been standing by interpreting 
for us. The little cubes within reach of the dead 
man's fingers were a pair of dice! They were made 
of bone, and identical in shape, size, and numbering, 
with those used to-day Possibly this gentleman 
had lived by a combination of "come seven come 
leben" popular in Utica in his day. Certain it 
is that the presence of these dice made a colourful 
human touch, more than the age, dimensions and 
quality of the tomb could ever do. 

As our work progressed, we penetrated into a 
site more fruitful than we hoped, at least in quantity. 
Four new tombs were discovered in one day. The 
first contained a gold signet ring, the stone being a 
cornelian beautifully engraved. It revolved in a 

300 



UTICA EXCAVATION OP THE PARENT CITY 

socket, and the mechanism was as smooth when 
we tried it as it could have been the day it was made. 
The flat, inscribed portion of the jewel was next to 
the finger, and the rounded sculpture faced outwards. 
In this tomb, also, we found the "Nezems" or nose 
rings, reminiscent of an old habit of the Canaanites 
(Genesis, XXIV, 47). 

One can hardly imagine anything less graceful 
than a ring through the nose, and yet this habit 
persisted for a long time in Carthage, though the 
Carthaginians were only led by the nose after the 
Roman conquest of 146 B c. Plautus in his famous 
comedy dating from 190 B.C. makes a facetious 
character remark that the slaves of Hanno surely 
had no fingers, since they wore rings through their 
noses. 

The last tomb contained two perfume bottles, 
six inches high. The perfume was gone, but the 
significance remained. It recalled the lavish use of 
perfume by the Carthaginians. This tomb also 
contained a little lead box, somewhat resembling 
one I had seen in the Bardo museum. It was divided 
into two compartments, and was certainly designed 
for cosmetics (cf. Delattre, and Gsell, Vol. IV, p. 81). 

So were the habits and customs of the people of 
the past revealed by our excavation of the tombs of 
the dead. It is very probable that the tombs of 
TJtica will teach us more concerning the history and 
manners of the city than anything else we can dis- 
cover. Little by little, and year by year, we can 

301 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

delve into the mystery surrounding the lives of this 
once great people, and make the dead speak. 

Here lies the true romance of archaeology. It is 
now only the years that separate us from the lives 
of the little dancing girl, the gambler, the fisherman, 
the seamstress, the soldiers and wealthy citizens. 
Even the years are bridged as they talk of the days 
gone by. 

A few points of interest in connection with the 
whole question of Punic tombs may well be incor- 
porated here. They help us to reach conclusions 
and may serve as a guide to those who wish, for 
one purpose or another, to arrive at a viewpoint 
in respect to this era. 

Often, our indications of tombs come from a row 
of beautiful amphores standing above the tomb, and 
once we found six such vases, five feet high, all in a 
row. Professor Washington of the Carnegie Foun- 
dation, took specimens of the contents. It is thought 
that they once contained food for the journey to the 
next world, a custom common among the ancients. 

The bodies must have been wrapped in shrouds, 
for we have frequently found bronze pins, which 
were used to hold the coverings in place. The pins 
are usually found near the right shoulder (see Delat- 
tre). The only time we have found actual traces of 
the shroud itself is recorded earlier in this chapter 

Many of the tombs, too, contained sulphur and 
bitumen, probably placed there for sanitary and 
prophylactic reasons. 

302 



UTICA EXCAVATION OP THE PARENT CITY 

Occasionally, also, we found traces of wood, which 
showed that a wooden coffin was placed in the stone 
sarcophagus. Identical evidences were found by 
Pere Delattre, at Carthage. 

The Phoenician name for the grave was "the 
eternal abode " It is said that the tombs were sunk 
so deep (sometimes nearly thirty metres at Carthage) 
that the spirit could not return, but it is much more 
probable that they were placed deep for safety's 
sake, and as a protection against thieves, for the 
tombs contained gold and ivory from the Sahara, 
amber and coral from distant seas, the emeralds of 
the Garamantes, and garnets, carbuncles and escar- 
bouches of the Nasazaons and Masoesyles. (Strabo, 
xvii, 3, 11: Pliny, xxxvii, 104.) 



808 



CHAPTER XVH 

THE KILNS OF UTICA AND ROMAN VILLAS 

COUNT JEAN DE CHABANNES put at our disposal 
this year a little house large enough to accommodate 
the members of our TJtica staff. It lies near the 
homes of the farm workers/ and it was while taking 
a meal with the men that I met the officers of 
WrangeFs "White army" who were stranded in 
Tunisia several years ago. Count de Chabannes 
employs ex-noblemen, admirals, captains and nearly 
all other ranks on his great estate Many of the 
victims of the revolution are highly educated, uni- 
versity men, who take a great interest in the exca- 
vations when off duty. 

It was a great day when the Grand Duchess Marie 
of Russia came over as the guest of Baron d'Erlanger 
to see the opening of the Punic tombs The old 
uniforms were taken out again and refurbished, and 
the men lined up and saluted the car as it came into 
the gardens of the cMteau. It was a scene whose 
emotion can be imagined when the exiles were pre- 
sented to the Grand Duchess, and kissed her hand, 
while tears streamed down their faces, and hers, the 

304 



THE KILNS OF UTICA AND ROMAN VILLAS 

reunion of people loyal to the country that is no 
longer theirs, and suffering in spirit and estate. 

TJtica had already seen the exiled Marius, but it 
was tragic to see the meeting of refugees from the 
late cataclysm, with the Punic tombs for background 

We had much of interest to show our visitors, for 
the first pottery kiln had been discovered a few days 
after our arrival, while we searched for something 
else. We had actually been trying to locate the old 
Punic fortification when we came across the circular 
walls of a kiln. Our great question was whether it 
was a Roman or Punic ruin we had come across, and 
it was with a feeling of sudden wealth that we watched 
our foreman unearth a piece of pottery with an 
unmistakably Phoenician trade mark on it. 

The date of our discovery was March 4th, 1925. 

That is an important date, since it meant that 
we had turned another page in the history of Phoeni- 
cian Africa. Thereafter, hardly a day went by, but 
we found something useful and informative. The 
tombs told us a great tale, peculiar to themselves, 
but the pottery told us more. 

Magnificent pottery has been found in the necro- 
polis of Carthage, and in Malta and Sardinia, but 
it fell to our lot to discover a whole quarter of TJtica, 
where the pottery of the early Phoenicians was made. 
The kilns discovered are five in number, and we have 
been able to preserve them intact as they were found, 
with the pottery, ashes and fuel in place. 

The kilns are built of rough red bricks, the furnace 

305 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

being elliptical in shape and deep in the earth, cov- 
ered by a light roof, with sustaining pillars in the 
centre The entrances are narrow, and lead into the 
circle where the pottery was fired 

Above there is the cylindrical funnel, which com- 
municated by pipes to the hearth This is covered 
by a cupola. The air holes are still undamaged, as 
well as the adjoining laboratory, where the pottery 
was classified and deposited 

My joy was very great when I was able to take 
the Franco-American committee through the kilns, 
and it was not without its humour to see the sedate 
savants crawling on hands and knees, in single file, 
round the kiln, with one solitary candle for illumina- 
tion The participants in that scene were Professor 
Kelsey, Professor Washington, the Abbe Chabot, the 
Abbe Moulard, Mr. Stoever, Mr George Swain, 
Count de Chabannes, and half a dozen students 
trailed behind But we have done more uncom- 
fortable things for the pure delight of academic satis- 
faction 

The appearance of the party as it came out again 
through the manhole was disastrous Fragments of 
Punic pottery, dust, and ashes, were extracted from 
white beards on the journey back to Tunis 

Maurice Kellerman, indefatigable as ever, made a 
detailed film of the kilns, and of how they were used 
twenty-five centuries ago, as well as photographing 
the excavation in full swing, with the trucks, mules, 
Arabs, and scientists working at a great pace to 

306 



THE KILNS OF UTICA AND ROMAN VILLAS 

bring up dozens of objects in five minutes I sin- 
cerely hope that the people who see the films do not 
really imagine that specimens are recovered in so 
few seconds, or vainly imagine that our Arabs are 
so speedy. Simply the physical limitations of a 
certain number of feet of film, and the patience of 
spectators in far off countries determined the " re- 
construction" of many scenes, that they might be 
true to the spirit, and not monotonous, as I fear 
actual excavation frequently can be. 

Mr. Kellerman is something of a genius in his 
use of material (and personnel). When the light 
was bad in interiors, he contrived huge reflectors, 
which every available member held, to turn the 
sunlight on to the object being photographed. He 
even used the lids of biscuit tins Other people 
profited by his ingenuity, and there were often won- 
derful opportunities at Utica The "still" photo- 
graphers would line up, and their cameras click in 
succession, like a machine gun firing a clip I have 
heard ten click, rapid fire, many a time Vilette, 
Swain, Streit, Kellerman, Stoever, Abbe Moulard, 
Morris, O'Neill, d'Estailleur and Scott, would 
"shoot" like a platoon at drill It was amusing, 
but good for documentation 

Near the kilns we found thousands of broken 
pieces of Punic pottery, pottery that had "missed" 
and was thrown aside. There were also many fine 
specimens absolutely without blemish. 

Close to one of these heaps we found the little 

307 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

savings bank, with the coins still inside Its young 
owner had gone. Where, no one knows. He may 
have followed the long procession to the fires of 
Moloch, or he may have profited by his lesson in 
thrift. Here, however, was his bank, made of pot- 
tery, with a slit in the side for coins, and when we 
shook the box the coins still jingled 

The Phoenicians made their money-boxes with a 
view to the difficulty of extracting savings, for it 
took us a long time to bring out the treasure In 
the days when "poor Richard" amassed his childish 
hoard the coins would have counted for little, but 
they gave us a strangely pathetic light on the past 

The bank now lies in America, telling its story 
to modern boys. It also tells a little of the great 
financial genius of the Phoenicians, who are supposed 
to have been the original bankers. We are used to 
the various instruments of commerce, but it is worth 
while giving a thought, once in a while, to the in- 
genuity of the brains that conceived them. It is 
attributed to the Phoenicians that they first used 
paper, or leather, cheques and bills of exchange 
(Aristotle, Politique, V, 10 4). Certainly they were 
the greatest traders of antiquity, and their ships 
sailed over all the seas to enrich the two cities that 
once were the wonders of Africa, and now are plains 
and muddy marshes. 

Utica was known by the ancient historians to have 
had shipbuilding companies (Gsell, Vol IV, p 110), 
and had a bitter rivalry with the shipbuilders of 

308 



THE KILNS OF UTICA AND ROMAN VILLAS 

Carthage The enterprises were financed by bankers 
who also lent money for far distant cruises, and doubt- 
less exacted usury in consideration of their participa- 
tion. Incidentally, it is known that contracts were 
made in duplicate. 

The pottery money-box, six inches high, brought 
to mind the business activities of these trader-citizens 
more than any object I have found. 

Not far from this site we found traces of what 
might well have been an arsenal, for we unearthed 
considerable quantities of sling-stones made of pot- 
tery. These sling-stones are of various sizes, mostly 
about an inch in diameter, and are of different 
shapes, oval and round, and made of "terra cotta" 
At Carthage we found sling-stones, but they came 
from a different munition factory, being made of 
lead, and most of them bore the sign of Tanit 
Occasionally, too, as I have said, they are engraved 
with maledictions and imprecations We compared 
these small-arms of the past with the Mills bombs 
of the present day One modern shell would have 
razed a considerable section of old Utica 

Other discoveries near the kilns included a series 
of grotesques, which must have been children's toys. 
There were conventionalised figures of horses and 
goats, sheep, cocks, and most of the domestic ani- 
mals with which we ourselves are familiar. 

The most human of all objects, however, of which 
we discovered many examples, were babies' milk 
bottles. They are small jugs about six inches high, 

309 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

with the top covered over, and a tiny little hole, 
through which the jug is filled The nipple was 
part of the jug, shaped to roughly represent a 
diminutive breast. Sometimes eyes, and a laugh- 
ing mouth are painted on these pathetic relics. 

Excavation has its sad side, even though history 
may value the additional verification of certain the- 
ories. I have discovered similar milk bottles among 
the sacrificial urns at the Temple of Tanit, in Car- 
thage, and Pere Delattre has found them in the 
tombs of little children in his own excavations there 
They date from about the fifth century B.C. (Gsell) 

It is long since those children were carried through 
the streets of the city to the beaches at Utica, but 
one imagines that they were little different from 
children in our own homes 

During all the excavations of the kilns, pottery 
was being classified, actually in hundreds of ex- 
amples, so that we might recognise the Phoenician 
"trade marks" on the handles. Some of the seals 
were as clear as though they had been done yester- 
day, and were of real artistic value. Most beautiful 
of all was the mark of the factory that used the 
dolphin sign, of whose product we found at least 
twenty magnificent vases. 

Some stamps bore only one or two punic characters, 
rarely more a and a few were marked in Greek Per- 
haps the olive oil and wine merchants ordered them, 
with their own house signs sealed into the vases 
before they were sent to distant lands 

310 




ll 



s* 

-* 



THE KILNS OF UTICA AND ROMAN VILLAS 

Abbe Chabot made a detailed study of eighty 
different "trade marks" found at TJtica Many are 
contributions to the Phoenician nomenclature and 
script. 

A Punic lamp was found near one of the kilns, 
dating from the very foundation of Carthage, 800 
BC 

In one of the kilns we found a skeleton. It might 
well have been that of the potter. The crumbling 
bones lay among the dbris of the amphores, pots, 
plates, Punic and "Corinthian" lamps, vases, per- 
fume burners, and little molds for making cakes. 
It looked as though there had been many a bull in 
the china shop, in light of the hills of broken pieces 
we dug out. 

But the pieces tell a tale. The long still hands 
that made the pots speak through their art of how 
they lived in those days, and one sherd of pottery 
may link up civilisations thousands of miles apart, 
or place the date of a city. 

The excavation of the kilns, and indeed of the 
whole quarter, is unfinished. There are more kilns, 
and more pottery, to be dug out. In one spot we 
were bringing to light a whole series of partly de- 
stroyed statuettes when reluctantly we had to close 
down excavation for the season. 

THE ROMAN VILLAS 

The third major excavation of TJtica was the sec- 
tion between the Isle of the Temple of Apollo and 

311 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

the Punic necropolis. We had a light railway for 
our trucks, leading to the marshes west of the dead 

city. 

Our first discovery in this vicinity was the "bone 
and ivory" factory, one of the most amusing and 
unusual discoveries yet recorded in the history of 
exca > c~ ..on. From the number of hairpins recovered 
in the first two days, the site was soon nicknamed 
the "hairpin factory." That this ruin was such a 
workshop, I have no doubt whatever, for not only 
did we find several hundred hairpins and bone needles, 
but found also the raw material from which they 
had been modelled 

Here were spoons, pins, combs, needles, musical 
instruments, buttons, a clasp, pens, rings, and various 
other objects hard to classify, all of which we re- 
covered in ten days. Our haul was quite enough to 
start a museum. The objects were lying jumbled 
up m the earth mixed with the debris of mosaics, 
pottery, stone, glass, etc. It is a little difficult to 
determine the period, as the earth had been dis- 
turbed, and we were not quite sure of our strata 
The close proximity of the Phoenician business 
quarter, and the similarity of the objects found to 
those discovered by Pere Delattre at Carthage seem 
to indicate the probable Punic origin of these bone 
and ivory specimens. 

The hairpins were of great interest to the visitors, 
who came over daily from Tunis to see such a humor- 
ous discovery From the purely artistic point of 



THE KILNS OP UTICA AND ROMAN VILLAS 

view many of the pins were worth examination. 
They were beautifully carved and of varying lengths, 
from three to six inches. Most of the pins have a 
round button at one end, though many are adorned 
by carvings of female heads, and some, now in the 
Lavigerie museum, have women's names inscribed 
on them. Some of the pins were in ivorj ^ were 
two little boxes we found close to the pins, and 
which undoubtedly were designed for my lady's cos- 
metics. 

The ivory came from the elephants of North 
Africa and the Sahara, and the excavations of Car- 
thage and TJtica have revealed many things of great 
artistic value, especially a beautiful ivory fan and 
comb, carved with Phoenician and Egyptian sym- 
bols. These are in the Lavigerie museum, for the 
enjoyment of the public. 

A spoon, found at Utica, is well worked, and Pere 
Delattre believes it to have been used for incense 
Two other carved pieces this savant identified as 
handles for mirrors or knives. They were five inches 
in length and an inch across, engraved with parallel 
lines 

The buttons and pens were added to the Lavigerie 
museum, also 

A word of description of the pens may be worth 
while. They are long, slender shafts, flattened at 
one end and pointed at the other. The pointed end 
is slit, and pared down in a fashion not dissimilar 
from the quill to which we are accustomed, while the 

313 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

flattened end looks as though it might have been 
used as a desk knife or for erasures. 

The objects which we suppose are musical in- 
struments we have sent to Baron d'Erlanger for 
study. He has made an exhaustive study of ancient 
instruments and music, and is at the same time an 
ardent archaeologist Several Punic tombs at Car- 
thage were excavated by him in 1894. 

Shortly we hope to complete this curious excava- 
tion It proves, more than ever, that our novelties 
are quite ancient, that there is "nothing new under 
the sun/ 5 

From the hairpin factory, our work extended to 
the exploration of three Roman villas. The largest 
of these which has three floors still remaining to be 
examined, has been called "Cato's Villa" for many 
generations. There is no historic reason we can dis- 
cover to identify this ruin with the villa where the 
great republican patriot prepared himself for suicide 
by reading philosophy. Tradition alone has located 
the site, and identified the villa with Cato. It is 
a habit of the country, I suppose At Carthage 
"the baths of Dido" and the "house of Hannibal" 
are indicated in the same manner, but it seems to 
us that the association is unsupported, apd purely 
conjectural. 

One fact is certain regarding "Cato's Villa." It 
is among the richest so far discovered in Africa, for 
the glorious mosaic floors taken up by Count de 
Chabannes and housed in a special pavillion attest 

S14 



THE KILNS OF UTICA AND ROMAN VILLAS 

its magnificence A singular item about the villa 
is that the mosaic floors were made in successive 
layers. There are actually six mosaics, one on top 
of the other It seems as though the rich old Uticans 
changed their floors as we change the pictures on 
our walls. 

It is the same with frescoes. Here again we could 
see different layers and designs. One can imagine a 
lady of Utica saying to her husband at spring-cleaning 
time, "let's have the walls done in a blue colour 
scheme, and put a fishing scene on the floor, in 
place of the old Bacchus design ? " 

The frescoes uncovered by us at Utica this year 
were very rare (see Audollent, pp. 638-40), so rare 
indeed that the " Services des Antiquit6s" had them 
removed to the National Museum two days after 
we had uncovered them. They were found in a 
series of rooms in a second villa, near to "Cato's." 
They depicted graceful Cupids, in different colours 
and postures, and were framed in vivid borders of 
mural painting imitating marble. 

The general effect of these villas is very Pompeuan, 
and in due time we shall have a typical Roman sec- 
tion in this part of Utica, with mosaic floors, fres- 
coes, statues, bronzes and other objects identical 
with those of the great city in the shadow of Vesu- 
vius. 

The "household 55 specimens recovered from these 
villas include many beautiful lamps of the first 
period, pieces of many kinds of pottery, a bronze 

3L5 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

lamp and pedestal, several terra cotta statuettes, and 
several hundred Roman coins. 

Most interest, however, lies so far in the mosaic 
floors. Those we have uncovered in the villas are 
all perfect in preservation and design. With the 
exception of one or two, they are all geometrical, 
with prophylactic symbols (see Audollent, Carthage 
Romaine, p. 660) and date from the first years of 
the Roman occupation of Africa. 

Below the third villa, nearest the Punic necropolis, 
we discovered several small terra cotta pipes, pre- 
cisely similar to those found by Dr. Carton at 
Sousse (Hadrumet) in Roman tombs of the first 
century A.D. They bring up the picture of some 
old captain of industry sitting at his desk, transact- 
ing his business, with one of these pipes in his mouth 
and one of the bone pens in his hand. 

So it runs. Tombs, kilns, buildings and objects 
from the daily life of Utica, and a thrill every day 
It is hard to imagine a richer site in all the field of 
archaeological research Certainly the result of our 
excavation cannot be equalled for human interest. 



S16 



CHAPTER XVIII 

I THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

EXCAVATION and exploration in North Africa 
seemed to demand a completion by reference to the 
great hinterland of the desert. Many signs, which 
have already been recorded, led us to believe that 
there was something to be discovered in the Sahara 
which would throw a useful light not only upon the 
commerce of the ancient cities of the coast but also, 
perhaps, upon the very origin of man and the be- 
ginnings of Libyo-Phoenician civilisation. 

Certain members of the Franco-American com- 
mittee decided that it would be advisable to under- 
take the journey to the Hoggar mountains, and an 
expedition was therefore organised It is easily 
said "an expedition was organised." The countless 
details however took many months, and the last few 
weeks before we started were particularly harassing 

Long in advance of the expedition, camel caravans 
had to be dispatched along our route, to lay down 
supplies of oil, gasoline, water, and food, and full 
allowance had to be made for the inevitable loss by 

317 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

evaporation and damage en route. We counted on 
a thirty percent loss, but that was found to be en- 
tirely inadequate. The stores must have received a 
greater amount of damage than usual, for there 
were times when we found our entire reserve vanished 

Though explorers may travel now by motor, 
across the desert, they yet rely on the earlier method 
of camel caravan for supplies. The cars them- 
selves have improved considerably since the first 
traverse was made, and the Franco-American ex- 
pedition was equipped with three powerful Renault 
cars, twin six-wheelers, which have been tested and 
thoroughly proven. They sometimes made extra- 
ordinary speed across the sand, though, as would be 
expected, there were times when considerable inge- 
nuity had to be exercised in the negotiation of the 
most difficult sections of the route. 

To ride in them, across the dunes that rise many 
feet high and then suddenly drop (on the lee side) in 
precipices that are almost sheer, was to experience 
both the reliability of the transport and the strange 
nausea that cannot always be avoided. 

After the usual delays, half-expected or totally 
unforeseen, our fleet was drawn up in Paris, and 
Madame Rouvier, wife of the late Premier of France, 
poured a libation over them that they might be well 
and truly started on their journey. Our cars had 
names, appropriate to the desert: "Sandy," "Hot 
Dog," and "Lucky Strike " For our own purposes 
we called them the "Renaultosauri." 

318 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

To break them in, the three cars,, with the chauf- 
feurs who drove them throughout the trip, were 
sent over the road to Marseilles and thence shipped 
to Africa. 

Immediately our troubles began. Transport to 
Africa was difficult, and we are indebted to the 
French government for the use of the space allotted 
to Government stores on the transports, the only 
means of getting them across* 

The members of the expedition not already in 
Africa followed after by train to Marseilles and then 
to Djemila, for the great fte in the ancient theatre 
there, where the company of the Comedie Frangaise 
gave a performance of Polyphemus on the recon- 
structed stage. We were entertained by Governor 
Violette of Algeria, who gracefully complimented the 
Franco-American committee on the work that had 
already been accomplished under its direction, at 
Carthage and Utica, and wished us the best of good 
luck on our impending journey. 

The Comedie Frangaise surely had never played 
to a more picturesque audience, or under such im- 
pressive circumstances. For the first time for many 
centuries the grey walls of the old Roman theatre 
echoed the voices of performers, while from the 
banks of seats on the hillside a crowd of spectators 
applauded both drama and occasion. 

On the hills overlooking the theatre, white robed 
figures added a touch of the grotesque. The Arab 
population of the neighbourhood was en fte, and 

319 



DIGGING FOB LOST AFRICAN GODS 

when the blare of trumpets announced the end of the 
play, these spectators gave their own idea of applause. 

As we left, a score of Arab sheiks, with their 
gorgeous ceremonial saddles polished up for the 
occasion, rode round us at full gallop, their brilliant 
robes flying in the wind, a medley of gold and purple 
and scarlet And, since they take every opportunity 
for making a gladsome noise, they fired a continuous 
salute in our honour. 

Then, we were on our way, fully conscious that ex- 
ploration is vastly different under modern conditions 
from what it was for Barth, Rohlfs and Duveyner, 
those men who blazed trails with great labour and 
whose equipment was incredibly inadequate The 
French Government had given us the protection of 
their desert forces, and it was unlikely that we 
should be faced by those contingencies that have 
proved insurmountable to so many previous expedi- 
tions The Tuaregs are for the most part peaceful, 
now, and not antagonistic to the French administra- 
tion, though they have in the past put a sudden stop 
to exploration, and compelled the abandonment of 
commercial enterprise through their territory. 

For our individual protection against raiding 
Arabs, we were equipped with small arms and rifles, 
and the leading car was fitted with a machine gun 

However, we hoped to overcome most, if not all, of 
the difficulties, and to make a reasonably close survey 
of the area through which we passed 

The expedition was representative of many sides 

320 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

of life, and we were in a position to document any 
finds made, so that our discoveries may be followed 
up by other explorers, and the amount of verified 
knowledge of the Sahara extended. 

Our party was composed of M. Maurice Reygasse, 
Captain Chapuis, Alonzo Pond, of the Logan 
Museum, Beloit, W. Bradley Tyrrell, big game hunter, 
of Chicago, and a friend of the Franco-American 
Committee, Mr. Denny of the New York Times, 
our special correspondent, Mr. Barth, our motion 
picture operator & great name in exploration, by 
the way, which augured well for us Caid Belaid, 
our interpreter, two native guides and a native chef, 
and our mechanics. In all, we were seventeen strong, 
a respectable company in case of emergency, with 
varied interests and personalities sufficient to over- 
come the possible ennui of long stretches of uninter- 
esting country, a cheery crowd around the fires at 
night. Some members of the original expedition 
were unfortunately unable to join us, and we missed 
Baron D'Erlanger, who had to abandon his intention 
of journeying through the desert with recording in- 
struments to preserve the native music. Ill health 
robbed us of his presence. 

Other members who had made all plans for the 
journey had to withdraw at the last moment, and it 
was Mr. W. F. Kenny of New York who saved us from 
a threatened abandonment of the whole expedition. 

Thanks to him no abandonment was permitted, 
and we were able to go forward with our project, 

821 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

Our purpose was many-sided. In the first place we 
hoped to learn much more about the ancient trade 
routes, which were the sources of Carthaginian pro- 
duce, and also we expected with the assistance of M. 
Reygasse to examine the traces of prehistoric man 
in the desert. This particular study is of considerable 
importance, as traces of early man may have some 
bearing on the great subject of the desiccation of the 
Sahara Incidentally, there were rumours and legends 
to be sifted, especially in the Hoggar region, where 
we were told, on authority that is not so assured as 
it perhaps might be, that there are buried cities and 
strange races It is a land of myth and mystery. 

The preliminary stage of our journey ended on the 
sixteenth of October, when we reached Touggourt 
We were a little behind schedule time, due to the 
unexpected happenings of the road. We had been 
two days in the desert and probably had crossed as 
difficult, places as were likely to confront us before 
we reached the Hoggar 

Personally, I was glad to renew my acquaintance 
with the road south, for the whole area is full of 
archaeological enticement, as well as of unexpected 
beauty and charm. To the traveller and the mer- 
chant it offers barriers and difficulties, to the ex- 
plorer it presents a field for work There are ruins 
to be uncovered, quaint civilisations to be catalogued, 
and customs to be traced to their roots. It is enough 
for one man's lifetime to classify all the lore, enough 
for an army to attack the research. 

322 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

We entered the desert over the old Roman Bridge 
at El Kantara, which is the pass through the Atlas 
range, so cleanly cut that the Greeks deemed it 
worthy of a myth. Here they located a feat of 
Hercules, who is reputed to have ground the pass 
clear with his heel. On either side the mountains 
rise in majestic splendour, and the road, now well 
paved, runs through scenery that is very reminiscent 
of the Rockies. 

But, as we passed over the bridge we left behind 
the orange groves and continuous vegetation. From 
now on we only hoped for occasional green spots, 
with here and there a small settlement and a friendly 
greeting, or unfriendly. 

The oases we passed lured us a little, and timidly 
tempted us. My mind went back to a piece of work 
I should like to do, sometime; to go slowly through 
this region, where the Libyan gods had Greek names 
and often Egyptian characteristics. But we might, 
en route, have learned a little of the infiltration of 
other civilisations into Libyo-Phoenicia. 

Our minor adventures began before we reached 
Biskra. My own began at Tunis, where the unusually 
heavy rains had washed away the dyke, and we were 
confronted by a raging torrent, which stalled our 
motors, and we found ourselves aswim. It looked 
rather like a bad omen for the moment, but, like 
most things, it was no worse than it seemed, and we 
came through. 

Travelling down to Touggourt from Biskra, we 

323 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

were checked by the consequences of the same tor- 
rential downpour. Rivers that ought to be little 
else than dry beds had become raging streams, ca- 
reering along unchecked, and carrying away the 
native huts with them. Instead of sand, we had to 
deal with mud, and not only ourselves but the 
motor that makes communication between the two 
centres found the going hard. In fact, we came 
across the "stage" well wedged and stalled, unable 
to move one way or the other, and it became evident 
that we had done wisely in fitting one of the cars with 
a windlass* That windlass was put to the test at 
once, and there was a certain satisfaction in seeing 
the appliance do its work, for the coach was hauled 
to a level keel and set free to travel again. 

Then we were mired. It was plain mud for us, 
and not a case for the windlass. We had to get down 
and use shovels, so that we might move at all. We 
had camped under the stars, and it looked fairly safe 
for a comfortable night, and we were all in excellent 
spirits, but the rain came, and simply washed us 
deep into the desert Even that did not end the 
trials of the Renaultosauri. They were called upon 
to make a risky fording of swollen rivers, and came 
through famously. 

Our stay at Biskra was timed to coincide with the 
celebration of Cardinal Lavigerie's centenary. The 
members of the expedition laid a wreath on the great 
monument, so exquisitely modelled and interpretative 
of the man. We owe much to Cardinal Lavigerie, in 



THE CIVILISATIONS OP THE SAHARA 

Africa, and from time to time on our journey we saw 
the mystic print of the order he established, the 
White Fathers, whose members go throughout the 
desert places on their Christian duty. As they walk 
they leave the sign of the Cross, a welcome thing in 
the lonely places, a sign which tells the traveller that 
there is a companionable soul not so very far away 

Robert Hichens met us at Biskra, considerably 
interested in our mission. Biskra is, of course, very 
grateful to Hichens for having written the famous 
novel that has made the town a popular winter resort 
He is held in reverence, if not in awe, and the reverence 
closely approaches religion. When he dies, which I 
hope will not be for long long years yet, the Arabs 
will surely make a marabout of him, and Biskra will 
be his shrine. At least, it would if I had my way. 

Louis Chapuis, browsing about the outskirts of the 
town, found prehistoric traces, and that of course 
delighted M Reygasse, Africa's greatest authority 
on prehistoric man. 

We were all elated that such a discovery had been 
made, and argued over the flints as though they were 
the emeralds of the Garamantes. Reygasse has led 
me on several expeditions to the haunts of prehis- 
toric man, which sometime will be recounted in full, 
and he was the chief of the scientific side of the ex- 
pedition. 

From Biskra our route took us through the Chotts, 
where most things, save the ingenuity of man, give 
way to the dry hunger of the sand Imported 

325 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

religions, successive emperors and empires, all have 
gone. The sand remains. The sand and man's 
determination, what the desert gains on one front 
the French administration is gaining on another, by 
sinking deep wells and creating new oases. 

Touggourt gave us a royal welcome, and we en- 
joyed for the last time for two months the hospi- 
tality of real beds and modern comforts. While 
we halted, our mechanics overhauled our cars, and 
filled them to the last ounce with gasoline, oil and 
water They carried enough for five hundred miles. 

From here we began the long plunge of a thousand 
miles of desert to the Hoggar, in whose valleys are 
white people of magnificent physique and classic 
features, whose origin is a mystery, and on which 
they themselves have steadfastly refused to give any 
information. 

In one sense the Hoggar is unknown. There had 
been expeditions before us, some of which had done 
remarkable work, particularly in the field of geology. 
There were other men who had done much in the 
Hoggar, living there long enough to know the people 
and their customs Our own interpreter had lived 
in the Hoggar most of his life, and entertained us 
each evening by reciting the poems of the people 
and translating them for us into pleasant French 
Just enough is known of the Hoggar to make its 
mystery more fascinating Our particular advantage, 
in this expedition, over our forerunners, was that we 
had a modern caravan, economical of time, and we 

326 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

had with us experts in the special fields of archaeology, 
palaeontology, and anthropology. We were as free 
as is humanly possible of the difficulties incidental 
to travel, and were able to concentrate on the main 
point of research. 

Some little success has been mentioned in the dis- 
coveries by Louis Chapuis of flints at Biskra. These 
have been classified now, and belong to the Upper 
Mousterian and Lower Aurignacian periods, dating 
back roughly a hundred thousand years 

The Hoggar was our principal hope Here in what 
is often described as a veritable Garden of Eden, are 
the mysterious people, tall, straight and slender, who 
regard themselves as the greatest of all races. Many 
writers have commented on their similarity to the 
Egyptians as represented on the ancient tombs of 
the Pharaohs. The men are veiled, considering it 
shameful for a woman to see their faces. The women 
however, are unveiled. Perhaps their domain has 
been too eloquently described, The traditional pic- 
ture of the region is one of great loveliness, telling of 
valleys lying at the bottom of fantastic gorges, 
blooming with roses and mimosa and acacia, and 
dotted with lakes teeming with fish and harbouring 
venerable crocodiles. 

The Tuaregs are a strange people. Their moral 
code is unorthodox, but strict They are shepherds, 
poets and warriors, but the outside world regards 
them as marauders, and their impetuosity in attack 
has made them dreaded throughout the Sahara For 

327 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

long years they have kept their sheep and tended their 
flocks, trading as far as Timbuctoo and reaping the 
harvest of honest toil. But their most profitable 
occupation has been raiding caravans. Apart from 
that, they are an honest people A Tuareg despises 
petty theft, though he regards an armed raid as 
perfectly justifiable and a man's job. 

There is every reason to believe, however, that the 
days of murder and pillage are over, for the French 
have put the whole region under military control, 
and banditry has been kept down 

It was not so for the expedition under Colonel 
Flatters who led an expedition of sixty French soldiers 
in 1881, and was permitted to penetrate far into 
the Tuareg region, without molestation, only to be 
presented with poisoned dates as a gift from the 
natives. The poison was one which causes insanity, 
and when Flatters' men became hysterical, and ran 
out into the desert in a mania of laughter, they were 
cut down by the waiting Tuaregs, who closed in with 
spears and knives, and made the massacre complete 

With all their hardihood, the Tuaregs have a 
unique culture of their own. Poetry is the national 
pastime, and they have their own version of the 
"salon " Their social assembly is usually held at 
the tent of a woman famous for her beauty and in- 
telligence, and Tuareg braves have been known 
to travel a hundred miles to attend Before the 
assembly the young men and maidens talk of love 
all in verse. 



THE CIVILISATIONS OP THE SAHARA 

Naturally, the Tuaregs are rich in legend In the 
centre of their country, the region of Kel-Ahaggar 
is a high mountain which men never climb The 
Tuareg women say that the plateau at the summit is 
haunted by supernatural women, and tell how two 
young men once climbed up, far enough to encounter 
them. One was taken by the spirit women, they say, 
and was seen no more The other escaped from the 
embrace of the goddess who had elected him to be 
her consort, and fled down the mountain to his own 
mortal beloved. Since then no man has attempted 
the ascent 

Without doubt, this is the legend which furnished 
Pierre Benoit with the central idea of his famous 
"Atlantide " Those who have read the novel will 
remember the supernatural beauty of Queen Antinea, 
descendant of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, who 
reigned in the palace of the Hoggar, and for amuse- 
ment loved and killed explorers. 

We hoped to climb the mountain, but were assured 
that there was neither goddesses nor Red Marble 
Hall, with its niches filled with the embalmed bodies 
of Queen Antinea's victims. 

Forgetting romance, and romances, for the mo- 
ment, there were many incitements to consider the 
legend of the lost continent of Atlantis Plato told 
of a great continent, with a magnificent civilisation, 
ruled by kings descended from Poseidon. In a day 
it was engulfed by the sea, and other continents were 
raised from the floor of the ocean, making the world 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

as we know it now. According to Plato, however, 
before the catastrophe, priests from Atlantis had 
gone to the Nile valley, and so, according to the 
story, the civilisations of the ancient world were 
the offspring of Atlantis. 

Atlantis is located everywhere, and is a pleasant 
legend, but there is a theory held in many places that 
the Canary Islands, the Atlas mountains, and the 
Hoggar have remained as the high places of the lost 
Atlantis, and archaeological, geographical and bio- 
logical evidence at least bears a considerable influence 
on their unity. We dismissed the legend, but, in 
the craters of the extinct volcanos which we visited 
in the centre of Africa, there were old dolmens, 
tombs, and monuments of an unknown age, about 
which we cannot even guess And, in the rocks of 
the Hoggar are carved inscriptions which the Tuaregs 
can read, but whose meaning they cannot decipher. 

Without taking too great notice of legend, one of 
the things we hoped to do in the Hoggar was to 
investigate how there came to be this race at once so 
high and yet so primitive in the valleys of the dis- 
trict. If they did not originate in the desert, it must 
have been under terrific impulse that they crossed it 
to their present home Pere de Foucauld, the 
"Hermit of the Sahara" decided after long study of 
them that they were closely allied to the Egyptians 
and other very ancient peoples. Emile Gautier, 
one of the most notable explorers of the Hoggar, 
believes that they are the last survivors of the 

330 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

Libyans, and there is another theory which identifies 
them with the Berbers, a race with traces of dis- 
tinguished lineage, who were driven from the Atlas 
Mountains into the desert by invading Arabs. 

II PEEHISTOKIC MAN IN THE DESERT 

WE reached Ouargla after a wonderful day's run of 
nearly two hundred kilometers The morning was 
passed in a steady rain which chilled us through. 

Something happened to the Saharan weather for 
we alternated between hot winds and chilling rains. 
Cold nights we expected, but cold days are unusual 
We took to fur coats for the occasion. 

When we left Touggourt, the whole population 
seemed to turn out to see us off, and two red robed 
Caids led the procession out of the city Everyone 
wished us well, and as a parting gesture the autho- 
rities invested me with a decoration that is reserved 
for explorers of the desert, and then, to shouts of 
"Ar saret" (au revoir) and "In chalak" (God will 
it that we see each other again) we were gone into 
the dawn. 

The last Koubbas were passed, and the wind 
whistled round our ears across the Sebkas, where the 
only signs of life were a few little Bedouin tents, 
from which the inmates gazed out in wonder, and 
crept back again. Probably they regarded us as the 
legendary djinns, going out to seek the occult in the 
heart of the sands. 

331 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

The dunes proved difficult of negotiation in the 
rain, and one of the cars missed its hold, and was 
sandlocked, but the others hauled it free, with the 
entire personnel of the expedition lending a hand to 
the work. 

Our arrival at Temassin was announced by a 
single horseman, a solitary Arab, who stood out- 
lined for a moment against the rose-tinted sky, and 
then whisked his horse around and sped to the 
village, where we followed, to take coffee with the 
Caid, and talk politics. 

Time pressed, however, and we pushed on very 
quickly, into the growing day Temassin looked 
wonderfully prosperous when we left it, the palm 
trees silhouetted against the horizon like magic lace- 
work. Even the drinn, that tufted coarse vegetation 
of the Sahara, seemed less useless. 

Our immediate objective was Ouargla, where it 
was intended to make as close an examination as 
possible for signs of prehistoric man. We made a 
good run, keeping an average of nearly 35 kilo- 
metres an hour, and fortunately after five hours 
rain the sun shone, and the air was clear. 

We were thoroughly caked in sand when we arrived, 
however, and the welcome was both magnificent 
and cordial. Descending from the cars, we were 
surrounded by the officers and Caids, and in the 
midst of a lot of filming and photography we told of 
the journey The inhabitants were very interested 
in the names of the cars, which we found very hard 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

to translate Our mascots, especially "Bonzo" and 
the "Parrot" received nearly as much attention as 
we did, and how they brought back Paris' The 
machine gun was of less importance to them than 
our ice machine, which we had to demonstrate, but 
the ice was put to good use! 

Nothing can express our gratitude to the Com- 
mander and officers for the way in which we were 
received, and Ouargla itself must stand as the monu- 
ment to the French administration who are doing a 
work in the Sahara as stupendous as anything ever 
attempted by the Romans in Africa. The desert is 
steadily being conquered, and the frontiers of civi- 
lisation are constantly being pushed forward by the 
new company of Empire Builders. 

The evening we spent at the Cercle Militaire, 
where we learned more of the desert in two hours 
than could be absorbed in a year's reading. We 
were lodged in the fortress, to which we went across 
a stretch of sand and palms, with the stars shining 
brilliantly above us, and an Arab flute playing 
plaintively in the oasis near by. 

Such fertility as there is at Ouargla depends on 
the subterranean river Oued Mya Artesian wells 
now provide water for innumerable date palms, and 
there is a population of nearly four thousand people 
within the fortified village and some three thousand 
others outside the walls. 

Right of the Oued Mya, Colonel Flatters reported 
a find of neolithic implements, so we had some indi- 



DIGGING FOE LOST AFRICAN GODS 

cation that investigations here would not be useless. 
To cover the ground quickly, we divided operations. 
Mr Pond of the Logan Museum, Beloit College, and 
Captain Chapuis explored the flat summit of Gara 
Krima, a great rock that dominates literally hun- 
dreds of miles of desert. It is an old stronghold of the 
pirates of the Sahara, from whence they scanned 
the desert, sweeping down whenever a caravan was 
signalled, and raiding the country far and wide. 

Here were found traces of prehistoric man, and an 
old well, over eighty metres deep, of pre-islamic 
origin. Early man had left his signs, in the form of a 
well hearth, and we also found some early Berber 
pottery, belonging to about the ninth and tenth 
centuries. 

This old rock has been called "the Earth Sister 
of the Rainbow," a name not at all hard to accept, as 
one sees its many tones and colours, accentuated by 
every change in the light of the sky. 

The remainder of the party followed the dried 
water-course, and was successful in making dis- 
coveries that may lead to an addition to the knowl- 
edge of prehistoric periods of the Sahara A neolithic 
site was located, and Earth, our operator, after cross- 
ing six miles of sand dunes on foot, found a perfect 
stone axe of the acheulian period In the course of the 
day a great prehistoric foyer was located, where suc- 
cessive fires had been burned for endless years on the 
same spot, making a field of ashes nearly two hundred 
yards by one hundred and fifty yards in width. We 

334 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

recovered nearly a hundred neolithic flints In the 
river bed we found considerable quantities of snail 
and cockle shells, which tend to support the theory 
that the Sahara was once far less of a desert than it 
now is, if not, indeed, a veritable ocean at some re- 
mote period. 

Our discoveries also strengthen the belief held by 
the scientific members of the expedition that Africa 
was the scene of human activities in prehistoric 
periods. The axe, which was identified by both M. 
Reygasse and Mr Pond as belonging to the oldest 
but one of the stone ages, antedates by perhaps a 
hundred thousand years the work of the Cro- 
Magnons of Southern France. 

When we had finished our explorations, dusk had 
fallen and night came rapidly, though we were miles 
away from the cars, so hidden in the monotonous dunes 
that we could not see our way out Then I felt, for 
the first time, the horror of being lost in the desert 
Hills and dales of sand, terribly uniform, surrounded 
us. I thought of the great Dr. Earth, dying of 
thirst, and biting through his own veins, to drink his 
blood Lieut Bruce, who accompanied us told us of 
a soldier who had died in these same dunes only a 
year ago, from thirst. We were only twelve miles 
from Ouargla, the same distance as the soldier, but he 
had lost his company, and died wandering about in 
the dunes Modern equipment helped us. In the 
distance we saw a light revolving, and made for the 
bright spot, through the darkness. Our mechani- 

335 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

cians had guessed that we were lost in the dunes, and 
had started signalling. In two hours we had all 
gathered round the beacon, like moths, glad enough 
that we were not to be compelled to spend the night 
in the desert cold. 

Returning, however, we found the disquieting 
news that nearly two thirds of our gasoline de- 
posited along the route by camel caravan, had 
evaporated, due to damage to the cans. The French 
authorities, however, came to our rescue, and wire- 
lessed orders to the military posts along the way to 
the Hoggar to supply us with gasoline, even to the 
extent of all their stores. They also placed army 
food at our disposal, against emergency. 

To raise our spirits, perhaps, Commandant Belau- 
don, Chief of the Sahara forces, and the officers of 
the post, entertained us, and our talk turned to Scott 
and Amundsen, and not without reason, for it was 
cold under the stars When we turned our head- 
lights on to the sand it might well have been the 
frozen north, the illusion was so complete. 

The sand dunes growl and grumble under the 
changing temperatures, as the millions of particles 
contract and expand, and set up friction. One heard 
the desert speak, as it has spoken to many an ex- 
plorer not so well situated as we were. It is difficult 
to describe the many voiced sands The Tuaregs 
say it is the call of the evil spirits, or the moan of 
lost souls wandering over this earthly hell. 

The rocks speak, also, from the same cause. The 

336 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

ancients used the natural phenomena to produce 
their oracles, and to impress the superstitious with 
awe of their divinities. There are supposed to be 
stones of that type in the Hoggar, which may give 
us a little sidelight on certain traditions and legends 
that come from that region. 

We left Ouargla, oriental and many coloured, with 
shadows mixing with half lights, and the colours 
fading into the sands, to press on to Hassi Inifel, 
where the tombs of the massacred White Fathers lie 
side by side The Arabs call them the "marabouts 
of the Sahara, 55 the saints of the desert, but it is 
sometimes dangerous to be a Christian in this 
neighbourhood Then we went along the great 
Ergs to In-Salah. 

We were five days late at In-Salah,, for two reasons. 
One that the going was a little hard in places, and the 
other that we made discoveries that would have 
merited a much longer stop On our way down, we 
found many new and interesting inscriptions and 
relics of the Libyan people. In the most desolate 
spot imaginable, on a barren brownstone cliff, over- 
looking the desert, we located a connecting link be- 
tween the Libyans and the mysterious white people 
of the Hoggar Above the bed of the Aolgui river, 
we found scores of inscriptions in Tifinar, the language 
of the Hoggar, which is closely related to Libyan 

The great cliff might well be called the mountain of 
love, for, deeply cut in the floors of the caves were 
inscriptions indicating that the place had been used 

337 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

as a tribal trysting place centuries ago. Here, the 
young men and maidens of the original inhabitants 
left their messages of devotion, their proposals of 
marriage, and their rejection. Belaid, our interpreter 
translated the messages for us Some are signed in 
masculine names, others in feminine names They 
are human, terse, and to the point. 

One woman said "I Beltaim proclaim my love for 
Lih," and another, evidently despairing, message, 
to an unsuccessful lover read "I surely have said all 
I can to you " 

Near to these love messages in stone were found 
peculiar sculptures, crude but distinguishable, de- 
picting feet, in pairs On the sheer edge of the chasm, 
a man's foot and a woman's were outlined in the 
rock. Evidently they were a sign of betrothal, for 
not infrequently names are inscribed in the spaces 
enclosed. 

Maurice Reygasse was of the opinion that they 
are formal notices of betrothal, having their origin in 
a tribal custom. When a maiden was pursued by her 
suitors, she ran to the edge of the cliff, and poised 
there in a pretence of throwing herself over The 
favoured suitor caught her, and embraced her, 
etching the outlines of their feet, to inform the tribe 
he had won her. 

These inscriptions, which bear every evidence of 
great age, were covered by a deep layer of crumbled 
rock, and though we are at present unable to make an 
accurate estimate of their period, it is believed by 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

the scientists with us that they date from the earliest 
years of the Christian era. 

The important point in connection with their dis- 
covery, apart from their human interest 9 lay in the 
fact that they are three hundred miles further north 
than any Tifinar writings hitherto discovered They 
also stand as a mute testimony to a life that had 
place for romance, in a region now utterly barren 
and forbidding. The geologists are inclined to weigh 
this evidence as being in favour of the belief that the 
desert was not always the desolate stretch we had 
just crossed. 

Three miles away from the trysting mountain, we 
found caves on whose walls were rock sculptures of 
camels and gazelles. 

This discovery of inscriptions and cave pictures 
was the climax of the thousand miles of exploration 
which lay behind us at that point. Along the route 
were found many prehistoric sites, confirming our 
hope that in the inner reaches of Africa the deserts 
will show much light on the nursery of humanity 
At nearly every halt we gathered specimens of neo- 
lithic weapons and implements, and sometimes we 
found ornaments of fossilised ostrich shells 

En route we had minor difficulties and major 
pleasures. Everywhere the tribes were cordial, and 
the Caids gave us lavish hospitality. The trails 
were by no means easy to follow, even with com- 
passes, for the desert plays tricks, and it was easy to 
travel in a circle if observations were suspended for 

339 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

only a little while. Trying to make up time and to 
reach In-Salah before nightfall, we passed through a 
little crossroad oasis, the meeting point of indistinct 
trails, and we lost our way. The drifting sand had 
completely obliterated the route, and we took a 
course by compass, but it was only after many hours 
of wandering in the desert that the French garrison 
saw our beacon flashing, and sent out an escort 
which guided us to the fortress wall, through the 
unending dunes of a country without relief and with- 
out landmark. 

After In-Salah we were out of touch with civilisa- 
tion which, perhaps served us well, under the circum- 
stances, for when we reached Tamanrasset we were 
greeted with a solicitude that was more than a wel- 
come. We had got away from In-Salah too early to 
receive messages that had been relayed to us advising 
us qf the possible presence of an armed force of raiders 
nearly two hundred strong. We had missed them, 
however, and our journey had been undisturbed by 
the thought of impending attack. 

The message which awaited us told of five hundred 
rebel raiders moving on the Hoggar from Southern 
Morocco, the strongest armed force loose in the 
desert since the war, and that their probable route 
would cross the trail of our expedition before we 
reached Tamanrasset, at a considerable distance 
from an outpost. 

The French authorities regarded the raiders as a 
manifestation against the administration, and purely 

340 




Atnenokal Akhamouk, King of all the Hoggar 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

military in character, its object being to steal cattle 
and camels from the region south of Tamanrasset. 
It is known, however, that a considerable body of 
banditti were with the raiders, and the French had 
dispatched, before our arrival, a well disciplined 
body of loyal Tuaregs, to intercept the foragers. 

Meanwhile, we had been exploring parts of the 
Tanezrouft areas, to study ancient Tifinar inscrip- 
tions, and to follow up reports of ruined cities. We 
collected certain evidences which need close investi- 
gation and comparison before they permit any 
definite statement, but it was possible to say that, 
at least, we had found clues that indicate the possible 
influence of Carthaginian civilisation even so far 
south as this. 

The Tanezroufts are actually deserts within the 
desert, vast and pitiless. One passed through them 
as quickly as might be, with stars and compass as 
sole pathfinders. 

Here rises the dread simoun, "the curse of the 
Sahara," that has buried many a caravan in the 
cloud-mountain of sand that moves forward at an 
incredible pace. To go forward under such circum- 
stances is impossible, and the expedition was en- 
camped against the natural enemy as it would have 
been drawn up against a raid by hostile forces. The 
sand, driven forward, irresistibly lashed the exposed 
parts of our bodies, and drew blood on the hands of 
the camera man. The cars take only a few moments 
to be half buried 

341 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

South of Ouallen, Algeria, the Tanezrouft is about 
five hundred kilometres in length, while, south of the 
Hoggar, beginning near the Oued Tafaraset, a similar 
area of unexplored and desolate land is persistently 
indicated by the Tuaregs as the site of a great ruined 
city. We were interested to discover whether the 
indications had any shred of foundation, and to what 
period and civilisation the city belongs. 

The run from In-Salah to Tamanrasset was, as we 
had anticipated, the most difficult stretch of our 
journey, but we had not entirely foreseen the diffi- 
culties, with the result that for several days we 
found ourselves under the necessity of careful ration- 
ing, both of food and water Well after well was 
dry, and water was scarce. Our food supplies and 
gasoline were missing, and the trail impossible to 
follow. It was hardly possible to call it a trail, but 
that is the vaguest word we have to express that 
vaguer thing that is only a vanishing track through 
shifting sand. 

This is still the greatest of the dangers of the 
Sahara. The raiders we should not have minded so 
much, even had we known they were liable to attack 
us, for we were prepared against that emergency. 

Water is different, for many expeditions have 
perished from salt poisoning and impure wells. The 
temptation is to drink the first water that comes to 
hand. We ourselves found it difficult to refrain until 
the water was tested, yet a quick drink can mean a 
quick death. Some of the water is so chemically 

342 



THE CIVILISATIONS OF THE SAHARA 

active that it burns linen, and inflates those who 
drink it General Laperrine records having found 
one well so saturated with saltpeter that they who 
drank it vomited blood, and Earth has left the most 
graphic account of the tortures of thirst in his story 
of exploration in the Fezzar. The Tuaregs call the 
Tanezrouft "bled el khouf " the land of fear. 

We held out fairly easily, however, and reached 
the place we had designed for our camp, the village 
of Arrem In Amegel, whose population belonged to 
the black Tuaregs Here there was tumult which be- 
came panic as our headlights cut a broad beam 
through the darkness and lit up the encampment. 
Gongs clattered and drums boomed, and the braves 
ran madly through the street of the village, doubtless 
wondering what had befallen them. 

Since we intended to stay the night, however, they 
had to be propitiated We were, naturally, carrying 
novelties as presents to the chief men, and the gift of 
an automatic torch, that makes its own light, does 
wonders in the Sahara When the alarmed natives 
were reassured, their braves began a ceremonial 
dance of praise and welcome. The welcome and the 
dance were long, continuing for some hours. While 
the festivities were in progress other members of the 
community brought us offerings, which included a 
bullock, goats, and chickens. The chief brought his 
six wives to keep us company, and they sat around, 
curiously and solemnly watching the members of 
the expedition eat. When the meal was over, the 

843 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

women took up the dance, which would have con- 
tinued all night, had not our interpreter diplomati- 
cally persuaded them to leave us in peace. 

Just short of the Hoggar we passed through the 
gorge of Arak, which the Tuaregs believe is haunted 
by evil spirits Actually, the place was for many 
years the stronghold of brigands. We found neither 
spirits nor brigands, but we did find the trail nearly 
impassable, with fallen rocks and uprooted trees 
covering it in many places, and making it necessary 
for us to build a new road as we advanced. 

We hoped to reach Tamanrasset early in the day, 
but dusk was falling as we entered, and our search- 
light caused another flutter among the natives, this 
time not one of alarm, for the fort was prepared for 
our arrival. The roll of drums here was one of wel- 
come, and the whole village gathered round the cars, 
to shake hands with us, everyone individually, and 
at the gate of the French fortress our party was re- 
ceived formally by the two officers who were stationed 
there, while a guard of honour drawn from the Tua- 
regs presented arms. 

The morning after our arrival, with M. Reygasse, 
and assisted by the Chiefs and the French Comman- 
dant, I placed the bronze wreath of the expedition 
on the tomb of Pere de Foucauld and General La- 
perrine, those two men who did so much for explora- 
tion and the pacification of the Sahara Pere de 
Foucauld was murdered in 1916 by "anti-Allies " 
It is better to say it so The tribes came from the 

344 



THE CIVILISATIONS OP THE SAHARA 

east to remove the influence of a great man who was 
doing a steady and successful work in the consoli- 
dation of peace and loyalty to the French adminis- 
tration. General Laperrine, to whom the peaceful 
government of the territory is largely due, died after 
years of self sacrifice, the victim of an accident 

The scene was impressive, both in its colour and 
its significance, for these two men are now of the 
saints of the Sahara, according to the natives They 
have been elevated to the local calendar of the 
"marabouts " 

All the Tuareg chiefs of the vicinity were present, 
headed by Amenokal Akhamouk, the king of all the 
Hoggar. With them were the French forces, headed 
by Commandant Count Beaumont, and a detail of 
veiled Tuaregs saluted the graves. 

At this point our expedition divided M Reygasse 
and Mr Alonzo M. Pond went north, to accomplish 
a long planned study in detail of the mysterious 
veiled Tuaregs, both on the ethnographical and 
historical side, and "King Amenokal was with them 

With a few other members of the party, my road 
lay south. A body of twenty Tuaregs was detailed 
to accompany us, and our objective was the full 
investigation of a vast pyramidical mound located in 
the southern stretch of the range, among peaks 
seven thousand feet high. As each of the four sides 
of the pyramid is twenty feet high, it was a matter of 
considerable difficulty to remove the quarried stones, 
but they Lave been placed there, on a terrace over a 

345 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

yard high. The structure is probably the tomb of an 
early Libyan ruler Fragments of ancient pottery in 
the neighbourhood point to a similarity to the relics of 
the Carthaginian empire which we have already dis- 
covered in our five years' excavation at Carthage. 

Unfortunately, though we had made preparations 
for a longish stay in Tamanrasset, we found that our 
stores had not arrived, and we were compelled to 
subsist on the scanty stores of the military post, and 
native supplies. 

Before we left for the pyramid our couriers had 
not returned, so we were somewhat in doubt, not 
only as regards our supplies, but also as regards the 
armed force from Southern Morocco. The raiders 
are an elusive people, for they travel on mehari, 
those thoroughbreds of the desert, camels that can 
travel a hundred miles at a stretch without undue 
effort That is the strength of the brigands, they are 
so mobile that they may be reported a hundred miles 
away, yet with the dawn they will make their swoop, 
and be away again, lost in the sands to pursuers but 
safely on their own way. Their day is rapidly passing 
however, for the Tuaregs as a whole are unwavering 
in their loyalty, and the French are thoroughly 
capable of maintaining peace. 



346 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

THE work with the Tuaregs and on the tomb of 
Tamanrasset terminated, our next great objective was 
the finding of the tomb of Queen Tin Hinan said to 
lie on the road to the Sudan 

During our stay in the mysterious Hoggar Land I 
had enquired into the legend of Tin Hinan from 
the Tuaregs and they were unanimous in declaring 
that the great monument at Abelessa was the tomb of 
the "mother of all the Tuaregs/' Queen Tin Hinan. 

The finding of the Tomb took several days, for the 
Tuaregs were suspicious of our intent. The negroes, 
however, on being asked where was the great tomb 
answered by a pointing of the hand in the di- 
rection South. This was the way we found the lo- 
cation of the vast mound How many people have 
asked me, "How did you know where to go to dig?" 
"A few legends, a few records of travellers and six- 
wheel cars that can travel 200 miles a day, and 
a lot of luck and there you are! " I announced. 

The distance from Tamanrasset to Abelessa is 
about 80 kilometers due south east. We passed 

347 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

through a wild volcanic region before reaching the 
river Tit. The Tomb is on a small hill at the confluent 
of two rivers and is backed by the stupendous 
panorama of the Hoggar Massive. 

It was not unduly easy to get away from Taman- 
rasset, for the natives were gradually evidencing 
their trading instincts, and looking around for the 
little plunder that alone remains to them after the 
lessons in pacifism taught by the French. We found 
the same characteristics, however, they will drive 
what they consider a shrewd bargain, and will 
barter to the very point of dishonesty, and then 
be fairly honest. Just as the warrior Tuaregs will 
not leave a raided caravan without some means of 
subsistence, however slender, so they left us with a 
possible satisfaction of not having been entirely over- 
come in bargaining I have said previously that the 
Tuaregs, in their simple and direct code of what is 
ethical, and what is not, do not descend to petty 
thieving, but consider an armed foray as part of 
their virile existence. One thing I omitted to say is 
that when they have launched a successful raid they do 
not strip the victim of his last bidon of water nor his 
last morsel of food It is not necessarily murder 
they are after, it is plunder, legitimate plunder in 
accordance with their heritage, confiscation, it might 
be called, were the objective an aeroplane in difficul- 
ties on alien territory. So, unless it seems strategic or 
essential to do otherwise, the victim's life is spared 
and with it enough food and water for him to reach 

348 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

a source of supply, by exercising due caution and 
conservatism. 

That is gone, for the moment, but they practiced 
the same rudimentary tactics on us. When they 
thought we were escaping them they seemed to 
believe that we should never go away again, at first 
they brought around their matting, their basket 
work, and their worn out pipes and knives, their 
peculiar combination locks and wailing flutes, rings 
of brass and silver, their armlets, even rawhide 
powder boxes and their purses, made from the 
undressed and untrimmed skin of domestic ani- 
mals. We had to fight a little for the crude silver 
ornaments they wore, for the metal is rare in the 
country, and emblematic of position and beauty, and 
though the face of the ornament was often roughly 
but painstakingly chiselled we found that the backs 
were eked out by the lids of beef and other tins dis- 
carded by the military authorities. Impeding our 
progress were piles of bags, and pouches, saddles, 
old flint locks and assegais, wooden spoons, daggers, 
with native handles and blades made in Sheffield, 
camel manicure sets peculiar these, that resembled 
a combination knife and fork more than anything 
else, and which are used to trim the pads of the camels 
and to extract flints and thorns from the feet even 
the domestic pillow cases, emptied of their grass 
stuffing. 

One had to be watchful, just the same, in the 
midst of the bargaining, for the Tuareg positively 

349 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

refuses to barter. We had gone prepared to trade, 
but goods for goods did not appeal, they wanted, 
and they finally got, cash for goods. Their position 
was justified, for we had not the slightest intention 
of carrying back the items of trade, and they found 
their way gratis into the possession of the chiefs. 

Our cartridges were especially surveyed We lost 
a few . . the Tuareg knows better than to steal 
a gun, but cartridges have a moral. To steal them 
and to hide them means that so many fewer shots 
can be fired at the natives should there ever be any 
breach in the existing peaceful condition, and the 
Tuareg has his own variation of the proverb "a 
stitch in time " 

The trading took place near the well in the patio, 
and we were compelled at last to start the motors 
before the bargainers would cease. All the time, 
in wide eyed amazement a tame gazelle stood by, 
watching us and occasionally sniffing at the items 
for sale. He sniffed once, only, and took a rest, 
for which no one could blame him, but curiosity 
brought him back again. 

At the risk of running down one or two of the 
traders, we moved off, and within a few yards we had 
lost sight of Tamanrasset, it simply faded into the 
sand, only to be distinguished by the slender masts 
supporting the wireless aerial. 

The town, save the word, consists of a settlement 
which, if it rained, would disappear, leaving the 
five hundred inhabitants homeless, but it doesn't 

350 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

rain. Everything, including Fort Laperrine, and 
the officers' quarters is of mud; low lying hutments, 
the best of which have a rough framework of twisted 
tree-trunks, and all baked to the colour of the sand. 
As a settlement, the post covers about two hundred 
and the fort about two acres of ground. Yet here 
men are assuredly weaving the network of civilisation, 
are laying foundation for a forward march that needs 
only imagination to be carried to great advantage. 
There is water at Tamanrasset, lots of water, and 
with time and organisation that part of the desert 
could, and probably will, blossom in abundance. 

Our objective was Abelessa on the Oued Tit, 
where rumour, founded on practical observation, 
located a giant tomb. We had had much conver- 
sation concerning this tomb, which fitted in with 
the legends of the neighbourhood in a manner that 
left us no alternative but to take the hundred 
mile journey to confirm or otherwise all we had 
heard. 

On account of the supply caravans being late, we 
were short of provisions of all kinds, food, oil, equip- 
ment and gasoline, so we had drained all the cars to 
give one car a chance to get through, the others to 
follow with stores as soon as the caravan reached 
Tamanrasset. Progress was not fast, and it took 
us some two hours to reach Tit, a scattered group 
of grass huts in the midst of the normal Oued vegeta- 
tion, which is coarse grass, with an occasional 
scrubby tree very much resembling an Australian 

351 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

pine. We had no time for the cordial greeting of the 
natives, some six or eight of whom we saw, as time 
was precious. All we could do, and it seemed to be 
much, looking back on it, was to hand them our 
empty sardine tins, which they licked with a relish 
that was almost unbelievable. 

Tit is a tiny little cultivated spot, the natives 
raising meagre crops of vegetables, and one or two 
scrubby chickens, but it has an advantage far excel- 
ling most of the fertile spots in the region. It has a 
minute stream, flowing in the open, which is some- 
thing like a foot wide and about eight inches deep, 
carefully cleaned out and cherished. It has also a 
unique irrigation system, the like of which I have 
not seen elsewhere. It is primitive, but entirely 
pragmatic. There is a well there, which is in con- 
stant operation. An old native pesters the life out of 
a docile steer, whose daily lot it is to walk along a 
straight track, and back again, hour after hour, day 
after day, and when he dies as some day he will from 
sheer boredom if from nothing else, there will be 
another to take his place. But he performs useful 
work while he lives, for he hauls up a skinful of water 
every journey, and the ingenious natives have dis- 
pensed with the boy at the well who should tip up 
the skin into the trough. A crude projection catches 
the lip of the skin, and tips the water into the trough, 
whence it runs through the ditches. The old negro 
who drives the steer, knowing to a pace the length 
of his stretch, promptly turns the beast around, and 

352 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

lets the skin drop back to be hauled up again and 
the same performance repeated. 

From Tit we drove north for two or three kilo- 
metres and took a course south-west on the Sudan 
road toward Abelessa, but, as only we knew the 
road and were expecting the other cars to follow, it 
was essential that we make our own sign posts along 
the way. This we did by building a cairn of stones, 
with a note containing instructions wedged down on 
the top 

Night fell with considerable abruptness, and with 
night-fall the flies deserted us. Throughout the day 
flies were with us interminably, they were persuasive, 
insinuating, tame things with an intimate approach 
beyond anything I know in the insect world. Con- 
fiding too, for they could be killed in hordes, but it 
was futile to kill, there were millions more. But, if 
the sun went down at five forty-five, at five forty-six 
the flies had gone, where, no one knows, but they 
were gone, and we were able to camp, cook, and 
sleep without disturbance. 

We camped having made about sixty kilometres, 
and for the site chose the only tree stump within a 
radius of three or four miles. That tree stump will 
serve no other expedition, but it made a good fire. 

Martini, our chauffeur, as spirited as his namesake, 
and as good a precursor to a meal, cooked a magni- 
ficent repast; lentils in the frying pan, with plenty 
of water, which gave us lentil soup, and then lentils. 
He sliced tomatoes, which he dropped into the frying 

353 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

pan with some olive oil, then broke eggs in it, making 
a toothsome dish. Bread (soggy) and red wine with 
water were supplemented by coffee. The coffee was 
unroasted; it always is in this country, and has to be 
prepared for each meal Martini roasted the beans 
on a shovel, over a fibre in the sand, dried it on his 
ground cloth, which was an old tent drop, and 
ground it by pounding it with the handle of a ham- 
mer in a mortar which was his own tin cup. All the 
same, it tasted like coffee. 

We made our camp against the wind, which was 
coming from the southwest, but before nine-thirty 
it had changed completely, and we were compelled 
to remake camp. We had already crossed the Tropic 
of Cancer, but that night was the coldest we had 
experienced. Our elevation was somewhere about 
5,000 feet. The wind was chilling, it was necessary 
for us to cover up completely against it. I think we 
did manage to keep our noses out but that was 
about all. 

With dawn we were up, and drank the warmed 
over coffee, then Chapuis went ahead searching for 
game. We caught him about eight o'clock, empty 
handed, but an hour or two later he sighted gazelle 
and got one. 

We passed the fringe of Abelessa and from the 
scattered huts, made of rushes lashed together with 
still more rushes, one or two natives watched us, but 
not for long. They refused to pay much attention 
to us, for that was the day they were working on 

854 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

their community gardens, hi tic stretches of land, as 
yet not planted, but being prepared for urigation. 

Here we crossed the Oucd, and went directly sou Lh 
to the tomb, under the direction of Chapuis, who 
had scouted in this neighborhood in the time of 
General Laperrine. 

Between Abelessa and Silet, we reached our objec- 
tive on the Oued Tit which here is a very wide sandy 
bottom, whose sides are well screened by ragged 
bush, gnarled and brittle, yet green with scanty 
needle-like foliage. There is no water apparent here, 
but the natives have dug deep holes, about two 
metres long by a metre wide, and two or three metres 
deep, in a broken chain across the Oued. The waler 
is warm, a foot or two deep, and moving sluggishly, 
which leads to the conclusion that it is a well defined, 
subterranean river, capable of supporting a considei- 
able amount of vegetation* In fact, I believe that an 
oasis of some magnitude might be created here. 

The tomb stood on the north side of the Oued, the 
stream at that point flowing west. From the more 
definitely marked course of the stream, stretching 
back for most of a quarter of a mile was a level patch 
of sandy earth, which corresponds well with the cus- 
tomary wash of a large river, and thinly covered by 
a tall, stiff, hard, fibrous vegetation not unlike bunch 
grass, heavily knuckled. The grass has a source 
of nourishment, for though it is dry enough to serve 
as kindling for fires, it still has green shoots at the 
tips. Moving through the grass, which we did on 

355 



FUK LUbJL AJ^Jttl^AJN 

foot, we came to a low range of hillocks which 
seemed imposing by contrast with the flat area we 
had just left From the flat to the site of the temple- 
tomb was perhaps a hundred and fifty feet high, but 
exceedingly difficult of approach on account of the 
jagged and slippery formation of the hillside. To 
give a picture of the approach, perhaps it will suffice 
to say that the slopes seemed to have been covered 
by a multitude of small boulders, tightly packed, and 
baked black. So far the agglomeration was obviously 
of natural formation, and not the work of man. But 
surmounting this rocky approach, in majesty hard 
to describe, was one tremendous aggregation of huge 
blocks of sombre stone, which, for how many cen- 
turies has withstood the attacks of the storms of the 
Tanezrouf t, the disintegrating forces of great changes 
of temperature, averaging fifty degrees fahrenheit 
from noon to midnight day by day, as well as the 
spasmodic ravages of predatory nomads. 

Without destroying, all these forces had helped to 
ruin the original exactitude of design, without 
detracting either from its imposing grandeur or 
diminishing the testimony to the patient and skilled 
labour of what must have been a great people. 

After our first awe, close examination revealed 
that the temple-tomb rested on a flat base, which 
looked to have been constructed for the purpose, 
although there remained, so far as we could see, few, 
if any, evidences of paving. 

Rising sheer from the base, though littered by 

356 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

the debris of centuries was a gigantic principal tomb 
surrounded irregularly by sixteen smaller tombb 
The architecture and design of all the tombs, greater 
and smaller, bore striking resemblance to the "Tom- 
beau de la Chretienne," which was, roughly in the 
form of the old straw beehive 

The tombs were composed of sloncs laid in a kind 
of Flemish bond, but no traces of cement or mortar 
were then discerned* 

On the north side, the principal tomb had suffered 
the least damage and it was possible to recognize 
the skilled craftsmanship of the builders. This wall, 
relatively intact, rose some twenty to twenty-five 
feet from the base, but what was the type of the 
superstructure, or how much higher it carried, it is 
not possible to say, for the roof had at some time 
caved in, and the whole area was littered by a great 
mass of loose rocks, hewn boulders, and sand. The 
outer walls of the tomb must have covered an area of 
sixty by ninety feet, and later we discovered that the 
walls themselves were about throe feet thick at the 
highest remaining point. The walls of the smaller 
tombs were from eighteen inches to two feet thick 

It must be carried in mind, however, that when 
we first attacked the tomb, as a scouting parly, none 
of this was evident, save the one North wall, which 
was of comparatively easy access. What we first came 
upon was a groat pile of rocks, into which has filtered 
the sand of the Tanezrouf ts and the accumulation of 
ages whose extent we do not know, as yet. 

357 



DIGGING FOB LOST AFRICAN GODS 

We got the lead, however, that first day, almost 
on the first flush of the day, and promptly dispatched 
a messenger to the Caid. Nothing could be attempted 
without his co-operation, and while we were making 
our preliminary examination he arrived. He was by 
no means the picturesque figure of the type of the 
northern Caids, but a swarthy black, with a very 
keen eye to the main chance. We informed him that 
we needed workers, at once, and he delegated a 
runner to round up a score of men for us, whom we 
engaged at the usual rate of pay. One is almost afraid 
to mention the rate, for it might precipitate inter- 
national labour troubles, but we paid what was 
demanded, and it seemed to be a most highly satis- 
factory sum. It was actually less than one cent per 
day per man, and it is impossible to work more 
cheaply than that. 

We had the men at work before we made our 
temporary camp, and by mid-afternoon the dust of 
ages was pouring out of the ruin, like smoke from a 
volcano. But that was the first day. We had our 
subsequent troubles, not unknown in the region of 
solid labour. 

Then, we dressed Chapuis* gazelle, and hung the 
strips of venison on the bushes to cure in the sun- 
light. 

The tomb of Tin Hinan, reputed to be the burial 
place of the legendary ancestress and goddess of the 
Kings of the Hoggar, was not the first ancient tomb 
we had excavated. It is, however, without doubt the 

358 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

most outstanding discovery made by the expedition, 
and may lead to a documentation of Saharan civiliza- 
tion which up to the present has been lacking, and 
the full contribution to be made must have influence 
in solving many problems, ethnographical and even 
geographical 

The expedition has, at least, accumulated evidence 
which largely assures us in the belief that we have 
established the trade routes of the Phoenicians, and 
that Carthaginian influence extended into the very 
heart of the Hoggar many centuries before Christ 

The first tomb we had excavated, before reaching 
our objective at Abalessa, was a smaller mound of 
rough stonework, similar in type, but less imposing, 
f,o that of Tin Ilinan. This tomb wo found in the 
Oucd Tadent, some fifteen kilometres cast of Tarnau- 
rasset, in territory not yet mapped. It was com- 
posed of a mass of loose stones piled to a height of 
about three and a half metres, and with a perimeter 
of a hundred and twenty metres, obviously of human 
construction, the stones being unlike any found m 
the immediate vicinity- 
All that remains is a gigantic mass of loose rocks 
which on a proportionate estimate numbered one 
hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand separate 
pieces. This estimate was arrived at by the careful 
count of the contents of a cubic metre and the survey 
of the full dimensions of the tombs. The very collec- 
tion and placement of the stones must have occu- 
pied considerable time and a large body of men, and 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

we are inclined to believe that the tomb is that of an 
exalted personage dating from the earliest Tuaregs, 
or more probably before their association with the 
district. 

For the excavation of the pile, we engaged a num- 
ber of natives, who began to work on the tomb on 
the fifth of November It took us three days of 
heavy and painstaking work to strike a six foot 
trench straight through the mass to the centre at 
ground level. 

From the centre of the tomb we succeeded in 
recovering objects which are now being considered 
by the French scientific authorities. The body and 
objects were found in a roughly made sepulchre 
about two feet above ground level, and we took 
away a skull and earrings, and what may possibly 
be a nose ring 

Some rough effort had been made, it seemed, to 
erect a burial chamber of larger stones before the 
great mass of boulders was deposited. 

For us, however, the experience of the burial 
mound was invaluable In the first place it gave us 
an idea of the great labour that was necessary to 
reach our objectives, and at the same time it told 
us something of the rough architecture of the builders. 

Therefore, when we came to the tomb at Abelessa 
we were not entirely unprepared. 

Not entirely unprepared, it is true, but there are 
times when preparations go astray. We had reached 
the end of our outward journey, and we had seen the 

360 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OP THE SAHARA 

tomb, but the backgiound was not very hopeful. As 
I have said even lo &et one car, with the four mem- 
bers of the expedition already mentioned, to the 
place, we had had to take every drop of gasoline and 
every drop of oil we had. The other two cars were 
useless at Tainanrassct, and our supply caravan was 
three weeks behind schedule. 

At Abelessa we had for stores the remnants of our 
beans which were running low, and a few eggs that 
we were able to get from the natives. Our coffee and 
sugar were gone, and for two days we were on very 
short rations, A camel load of provisions was sent 
out from Tamarirasset two days later, but cither the 
camel was a weak one, or we were very hungry men, 
for provisions ran down again, and it was ultimately 
decided I hat while M Chapuis and I stayed to super- 
intend the work Mr. Tyrrell and the chauffeur should 
drive in to the fort and see if our supplies had arrived 
For five days our supplies had been gazelle and beans, 
but gazelle only lasts three days (in Lhe desert). 

Those five days were not without their excitement, 
however, for we worked ourselves literally to a stand- 
still alternating between hope and doubt, a hope thai 
ultimately justified itself in the most spectacular 
manner- 
Just as at the sepulchre in Oued Tadent, our first 
task was the removal of the mass of stones from the 
top of the tomb, that we might make an entry into 
the chambers. There were many indications which 
told that the mound at Abelessa covered more thai* 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

one tomb, and we took rough sondages to give us a 
lead for concentrated work, and laid bare the walls 
of a chamber on the south-west corner. Here the 
walls were well marked and of regular formation, and 
enclosed a room slightly more than five by four 
metres and two metres deep. 

As soon as we reached regular masonry, sieving had 
to begin, lest small, but important, objects be lost. 
Our sieves were few in number, so we fell back on the 
mesh coverings we had used for the protection of our 
food against the flies. As a practical point, I might 
say that the meat covers served exceedingly well. 

During the whole of the operations a strong hot 
wind blew, which played with the fine dust so that 
before work was far ahead it was almost impossible 
to distinguish between us and the native helpers we 
had rounded up. When work was finished we washed 
but the natives, probably philosophically, simply 
rubbed the dust off, believing doubtless that there 
would be as much more on the morrow, and of course 
they were right. The dust was incredibly fine, so 
pulverised that it rolled away on the wind in a fog 
that actually served as a guide to our reinforcements, 
who could clearly distinguish our cloud from a dis- 
tance of four kilometres. 

In this room, then, by slow degrees, we discovered 
the last resting place of a personage of considerable 
importance. The bones were later identified by 
Dr Gabnelle Nicolle (Aide-Major) at In-Salah as 
being those of a woman, an opinion supported by his 

362 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

colleague at Ouargla. We ourselves were not in a 
position to make such identification, but the native>s 
were extremely excited, convinced that we were dis- 
turbing Tin Hinan herself, their ancestress and 
legendary goddess. 

Their superstitions and fears seemed to be on the 
point of realisation, for they were driven into an 
angry panic by a thunderstorm that broke with 
dramatic suddenness; the flashing lightning and inter- 
mittent splashes of rain drove the negroes to shelter. 
Storms are rare, and according to Tuareg mythology 
the dead are under the protection of dcnu-gods, 
djinns who live in fire, control thunder and lightning 
and once tnade the mountains flame. When the 
black labourers saw the lightning curling around 
Mount Hainan they flatly refused to continue, and 
one ran excitedly among his companions screaming 
that the djirm were avenging the sacrilege of I lie 
tomb of Tin Hinan. But the storm quickly passed, 
and the negroes, finding themselves whole, returned 
to their homes in a calmer stale of mind. 

The floor of the room was of rough stones and clay, 
resting on large slabs of stone, nine in number and of 
varying si#e and thickness, the largest being 1.70 
metres long by .75 metres wide and .20 metres thick, 
On removing some of the smaller slabs we were able 
to reach the actual burial place, which, however, was 
completely filled by sand and clay- When measured 
the tomb was found to be &30 metres long by 1-40 
wide and 1.50 metres high* Along the partition was 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

matting to the height of about a metre, and in the 
centre of the enclosure was the bier. 

The body lay face upwards, the head slightly 
raised, supported by a piece of sculptured wood, 
looking towards the east. The legs were folded back 
and slightly crossed, and the arms folded on the 
breast. 

A leather shroud, which crumbled on the slightest 
touch, was thrown over the skeleton, and a large 
quantity of jewelry of a design which spoke of con- 
siderable culture was still in position. 

Whoever the personage was, whether Tin Hinan 
or one of her peers, she had been given the utmost 
honour in her death. Her jewelry was indicative of 
her rank, and in the antechamber of her tomb lay 
her clothing neatly piled, and ready for her use 
beyond the shadows. Here were garments of leather, 
painted red and yellow, as well as clothing of cotton 
and other fabrics, in various colours, ornamented by 
intricate fringes. No weapons were found, but food 
for her journey was by her, dates dried to the thin- 
nest film of skin on the stone, and a store of what 
looked to have been grapes, together with jars of 
grain. 

As we worked, two scorpions, the last guardians of 
the royal mausoleum, scurried away out of the 
ancient dust at our feet and fled through the cracks 
in the walls 

Careful examination of the mould that covered the 
body revealed scores of cornelian and turquoise beads 

364 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

and the golden stars of a necklace that was composed 
of a hundred or more items; mixed with these were 
beads in amazonite, garnet, gold and silver, and two 
of glass, painted in the semblance of a trinity of eyes. 
From these last beads we obtained the first sugges- 
tion of a probable date of the tomb. They are identi- 
cal with the amulets of the third and fourth cen- 
turies BC. discovered in the excavations we have 
made at Carthage at live sanctuary of Tanil, when 
Greek bead making there was declining. 

Proceeding carefully, we uncovered the most strik- 
ing sight of all* Each arm was freighted with 
massive bracelets, decorated with beads and circles 
In all, fifteen bracelets were worn, seven on the left 
arm and eight on the right. 

The metals we have not yet been able to identify 
It may be that some are of an alloy of silver and 
others of an alloy of gold. They have not quite the 
correci colour or ring, however, and I am inclined to 
believe that they are alloyed with antimony, for we 
know that the Carthaginians made much use of anti- 
mony, cunningly combining it with gold to increase 
its bulk and hardness* They obtained antimony 
from a secret source in central Africa, carrying it to 
Carthage on caravans of humped, horned oxen, pos- 
sibly passing over the trail we ourselves hud taken, 
down the Ouecl Til, past Tin Hman's tomb to the 
Sudan. 

If metallurgists support my idea that the bracelets 
of Tin Hinan contain antimony, we have one of the 

SCC 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

most important links between the civilisations of the 
North with the Southern Sahara that can be found. 
Certainly there is little room for doubt that we have 
worked over the route by which the Carthaginians 
brought their ivory, gold, gems and slaves from Cen- 
tral Africa, and along which merchants went to 
exchange beads and jewelry for the gold dust in the 
possession of the natives 

It may have been in such trading that the per- 
sonage we have exhumed obtained the wealth of 
Carthaginian objects found. 

As M Chapuis removed the bracelets, and began 
disengaging the bones it was found that the weight 
of jewelry and of years had broken several of the 
ribs of the skeleton, but the bones came out in excel- 
lent condition, and further work revealed the remains 
of the bier. 

This was an elaborately carved wooden couch, 
much decayed, and crumbling, but it was possible to 
reconstruct the pomp of the day it was placed there. 
The fauteuil had been heavily decorated, painted red 
and yellow and silver, and the head and foot were 
curved, and of a latticed motive, topped by moulding 
of good workmanship closely resembling the orna- 
mentation still used by the Tuaregs on their scab** 
bards. 

The wood, however, was in such a fragile condition 
that it was not possible to remove it intact, and all 
that could be done was to collect the pieces still hold- 
ing together, in the hope of partial reconstruction. 

366 




tyir tt\fx'<ltttmt Natiw tvln 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OP THE SAHARA 

There still remain many rooms to be explored, 
probably seven or eight, and we are led to believe 
that the central room will contain an even more 
remarkable documentation of the civilisation of the 
Hoggar region, since so far as we can see it is the 
principal chamber of the temple tomb. The con- 
tents of the one room completed urge the final and 
thorough excavation of the whole. 

All the objects found are now being considered by 
the scientists of France, and a considered judgment 
will be forthcoming shortly. 

One discovery, which is almost unique in archaeo- 
logical research was the small, crudely carved statu- 
ette, which had been called the "Libyan Venus " 
This was in the antechamber above the tomb, and 
must antedate the sepulchre considerably. It is a 
worked stone, about the size of the flat of the hand, 
roughly conforming to the human, female form, 
grossly distorted and disproportionate, with a clothes- 
peg head and stump arms outstretched* Almost 
lacking in trunk, but with crudely marked breast, the 
statuette accentuated the hips, which form the base 
of an inverted triangle, almost equilateral, the legs 
being represented by the slightest possible division 
of the apex of the triangle. 

This statuette may be aurignacian, it certainly is 
influenced by the aurignacian period, and may date 
as far back as a hundred thousand years before 
Christ* The tomb is unquestionably very consider- 
ably later, and the statuette cannot be considered as 

367 



DIGGING FOR LOST AFRICAN GODS 

an indication of the period of Hoggar civilisation. 
What is possible, however, is that the "venus" has 
been a family heirloom, handed down from genera- 
tion to generation, finally to be lodged in this tomb, 
perhaps embodying occult powers in the mind of 
the inhabitants. 

If the expedition had discovered nothing more than 
this small object, from a scientific standpoint the 
whole enterprise would have been justified. So far as 
I am aware there are only two others of its nature in 
existence, and neither is of so advanced an art. Here 
we have the very beginnings of the craving of human 
nature for sculptured representation of life, and I 
believe that with the facts now discovered we can 
go much further forward in the scientific documenta- 
tion of the least known of the great fields of the 
world. 

We had to leave much work to be done, for the 
schedule of our tour was considerably overreached, 
and the rest must remain for a later expedition. 

The natives resented our disturbance of the tomb, 
and the black chief of Abelessa arrived one day, just 
as we were finishing off, to protest that we had 
removed large quantities of treasure. He arrived as 
some of us were cleaning the bracelets, but, to avert 
possible trouble, we told him that the bracelets were 
of brass and iron, and he went off. The dislike 
shown by the blacks is due more to the fear that we 
have come in, and discovered a treasure that has 
lain in their territory for countless years, rather than 

368 



THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF THE SAHARA 

for any reverence for the dead. The blacks in this 
region are entirely different from the white nobles of 
the Tuaregs, and the sepulchre has had no signifi- 
cance whatever for them. 

That is, it had none, until they knew it was a 
tomb and the thunderstorm came 

Our three-weeks late caravan arrived finally, and 
we stocked up, and began our homeward journey 
Further excavation is only deferred, for it is probable 
that other bodies, possibly those of Queen Tin 
Hinan's nobles, lie under the same mound of stones, 
circled by the volcanic; peaks of the Hoggar in the 
heart of the great Sahara. 



369